Skip to main content

Full text of "Hero-tales of Ireland"

See other formats














SIR, — 

•  To  you,  a  thinker  who  values  every  age  of  human 
history,  and  a  statesman  who  takes  deep  interest  in  the 
nation  which  produced  and  kept  these  tales,  I  beg  to 
dedicate  this  volume. 










DARK  KING • 114 




URHU 198 




viii  Contents. 




NATION -,35 




MEN 438 


PINESS   484 



NOTES 547 


I^HE  tales  included  in  this  volume,  though  told  in 
modern  speech,  relate  to  hej^es  and  adventures 
of  an  ancient  time,  and  contain  elements  peculiar  to  early 
ages  of  story-telling.  The  chief  actors  in  most  of  them 
are  represented  as  men ;  but  we  may  be  quite  sure  that 
these  men  are  substitutes  for  heroes  who  were  not  con- 
sidered human  when  the  stories  were  told  to  JK.eltic  audi- 
ences originally.  To  make  the  position  of  these  Gaelic 
tales  clear,  it  is  best  to  explain,  first  of  all,  what  an  ancient 
tale  is ;  and  to  do  this  we  must  turn  to  uncivilized  men 
who  possess  such  tales  yet  in  their  primitive  integrity. 

We  have  now  in  North  America  a  number  of  groups  of 
tales  obtained  from  the  Indians  which,  when  considered 
together,  illustrate  and  supplement  one  another;  they 
constitute,  in  fact,  a  whole  system.  These  tales  we 
may  describe  as  forming  collectively  the  Creation  myth 
of  the  New  World.  Since  the  primitive  tribes  of  North 
America  have  not  emerged  yet  from  the  Stone  Age  of 
development,  their  tales  are  complete  and  in  good  pre- 
servation. In  some  cases  simple  and  transparent,  it  is 
not  difficult  to  recognize  the  heroes  ;  they  are  distinguish- 
able at  once  either  by  their  names  or  their  actions  or 


both.  In  other  cases  these  tales  are  more  involved,  and 
the  heroes  are  not  so  easily  known,  because  they  are 
concealed  by  names  and  epithets.  Taken  as  a  whole, 
however,  the  Indian  tales  are  remarkably  clear ;  and  a 
comparison  of  them  with  the  Gaelic  throws  much  light 
on  the  latter. 

What  is  the  substance  and  sense  of  these  Indian  tales, 
of  what-dxr  they -treat?.—  To  begin  with,  they  give  an 
account  of  how  the  present  order  of  things  arose  in  the 
world,  and  are  taken  up  with  the  exploits,  adventures,  and 
struggles  of  various  elements,  animals,  birds,  reptiles,  in- 
sects, plants,  rocks,  and  other  objects  before  they  became 
what  they  are.  In  other  words,  the  Indian  tales  give  an 
account  of  what  all  those  individualities  accomplished,  or 
suffered,  before  they  fell  from  their  former  positions  into 
the  state  in  which  they  are  now.  According  to  the  ear- 
liest tales  of  North  America,  this  world  was  occupied,  prior 
to  the  appearance  of  man,  by  beings  called  variously  "  the 
first  people,"  "  the  outside  people,"  or  simply  "  people," 
—  the  same  term  in  all  cases  being  used  for  people  that 
is  applied  to  Indians  at  present. 

These  people,  who  were  very  numerous,  lived  together 
for  ages  in  harmony.  There  were  no  collisions  among 
them,  no  disputes  during  that  period ;  all  were  in  perfect 
accord.  In  some  mysterious  fashion,  however,  each  indi- 
vidual was  changing  imperceptibly  ;  an  internal  movement 
was  going  on.  At  last,  a  time  came  when  the  differences 
were  sufficient  to  cause  conflict,  except  in  the  case  of  a 
group  to  be  mentioned  hereafter,  and  struggles  began. 

Introduction.  xi 

These  struggles  were  gigantic,  for  the  "  first  people  "  had 
mighty  power;  they  had  also  wonderful  perception  and 
knowledge.  They  felt  the  approach  of  friends  or  enemies 
even  at  a  distance ;  they  knew  the  thought  in  another's 
heart.  If  one  of  them  expressed  a  wish,  it  was  accom- 
plished immediately ;  nay,  if  he  even  thought  of  a  thing, 
it  was  there  before  him.  Endowed  with  such  powers  and 
qualities,  it  would  seem  that  their  struggles  would  be  end- 
less and  indecisive  ;  but  such  was  not  the  case.  Though 
opponents  might  be  equally  dexterous,  and  have  the  power 
of  the  wish  or  the  word  in  a  similar  degree,  one  of  them 
would  conquer  in  the  end  through  wishing  for  more  effec- 
tive and  better  things,  and  thus  become  the  hero  of  a 
higher  cause ;  that  is,  a  cause  from  which  benefit  would 
accrue  to  mankind,  the  coming  race. 

The  accounts  of  these  struggles  and  conflicts  form  the 
substance  of  the  first  cycle  of  American  tales,  which  con- 
tain the  adventures  of  the  various  living  creatures,  plants, 
elements,  objects,  and  phenomena  in  this  world  before 
they  became  what  they  are  as  we  see  them.  Among 
living  creatures,  we  are  not  to  reckon  man,  for  man  does 
not  appear  in  any  of  those  myth  tales  ;  they  relate  solely 
to  extra-human  existences,  and  describe  the  battle  and 
agony  of  creation,  not  the  adventures  of  anything  in  the 
world  since  it  received  its  present  form  and  office. 
According  to  popular  modes  of  thought  and  speech,  all 
this  would  be  termed  the  fall  of  the  gods ;  for  the  "  first 
people "  of  the  Indian  tales  correspond  to  the  earliest 
gods  of  other  races,  including  those  of  the  Kelts.  We 

xii  Introduction. 

have  thus,  in  America,  a  remarkable  projection  of  thought, 
something  quite  as  far-reaching  for  the  world  of  mind  as  is 
the  nebular  hypothesis  for  the  world  of  matter.  Accord- 
ing to  the  nebular  hypothesis,  the  whole  physical  universe 
is  evolved  by  the  rotary  motion  of  a  primeval,  misty  sub- 
stance which  fills  all  space,  and  which  seems  homogene- 
ous. From  a  uniform  motion  of  this  attenuated  matter, 
continued  through  eons  of  ages,  is  produced  that  infinite 
variety  in  the  material  universe  which  we  observe  and 
discover,  day  by  day ;  from  it  we  have  the  countless  host 
of  suns  and  planets  whose  positions  in  space  correspond 
to  their  sizes  and  densities,  that  endless  choral  dance 
of  heavenly  bodies  with  its  marvellous  figures  and  cqm- 
plications,  that  ceaseless  movement  of  each  body  in  its 
own  proper  path,  and  that  movement  of  each  group 
or  system  with  reference  to  others.  From  this  motion, 
come  climates,  succession  of  seasons,  with  all  the  variety 
in  this  world  of  sense  which  we  inhabit.  In  the  theory 
of  spiritual  evolution,  worked  out  by  the  aboriginal  mind 
of  America,  all  kinds  of  moral  quality  and  character 
are  represented  as  coming  from  an  internal  movement 
through  which  the  latent,  unevolved  personality  of  each 
individual  of  these  "first  people,"  or  gods,  is  produced. 
Once  that  personality  is  produced,  every  species  of 
dramatic  situation  and  tragic  catastrophe  follows  as  an 
inevitable  sequence.  There  is  no  more  peace  after  that ; 
there  are  only  collisions  followed  by  combats  which  are 
continued  by  the  gods  till  they  are  turned  into  all  the 
things,  —  animal,  vegetable,  and  mineral, — which  are  either 

Introduction.  xiii 

useful  or  harmful  to  man,  and  thus  creation  is  accom- 
plished. During  the  period  of  struggles,  the  gods  organ- 
ize institutions,  social  and  religious,  according  to  which 
they  live.  These  are  bequeathed  to  man ;  and  nothing 
that  an  Indian  has  is  of  human  invention,  all  is  divine.  An 
avowed  innovation,  anything  that  we  call  reform,  any- 
thing invented  by  man,  would  be  looked  on  as  sacrilege, 
a  terrible,  an  inexpiable  crime.  The  Indian  lives  in  a 
world  prepared  by  the  gods,  and  follows  in  their  footsteps, 
—  that  is  the  only  morality,  the  one  pure  and  holy  religion. 

The  struggles  in  which  creation  began,  and  the  con- 
tinuance of  which  was  creation  itself,  were  bequeathed  to 
aboriginal  man ;  and  the  play  of  passions  which  caused 
the  downfall  of  the  gods  has  raged  ever  since,  throughout 
every  corner  of  savage  life  in  America. 

This  Creation  myth  of  the  New  World  is  a  work  of 
great  value,  for  by  aid  of  it  we  can  bring  order  into  myth- 
ology, and  reconstruct,  at  least  in  outline,  and  provision- 
ally, that  early  system  of  belief  which  was  common  to  all 
races :  a  system  which,  though  expressed  in  many  lan- 
guages, and  in  endlessly  varying  details,  has  one  meaning, 
and  was,  in  the  fullest  sense  of  the  word,  one,  —  a  religion 
truly  Catholic  and  (Ecumenical,  for  it  was  believed  in  by 
all  people,  wherever  resident,  and  believed  in  with  a  vivid- 
ness of  faith,  and  a  sincerity  of  attachment,  which  no 
civilized  man  can  even  imagine,  unless  he  has  had  long 
experience  of  primitive  races.  In  the  struggle  between 
these  "first  people,"  or  gods,  there  were  never  drawn 
battles  :  one  side  was  always  victorious,  the  other  always 

xi  v  Introduction . 

vanquished  ;  but  each  could  give  one  command,  one  fateful 
utterance,  which  no  power  could  resist  or  gainsay.  The 
victor  always  said  to  the  vanquished  :  "Henceforth,  you  '11 

be  nothing  but  a ,"  and  here  he  named  the  beast, 

bird,  insect,  reptile,  fish,  or  plant,  which  his  opponent  was 
to  be.  That  moment  the  vanquished  retorted,  and  said  : 

"  You  '11  be  nothing  but  a ,"  mentioning  what  he  was 

to  be.  Thereupon  each  became  what  his  opponent  had 
made  him,  and  went  away  over  the  earth.  As  a  rule, 
there  is  given  with  the  sentence  a  characteristic  descrip- 
tion;  for  example :  "The  people  to  come  hereafter  will 
hunt  you,  and  kill  you  to  eat  you  ; "  or,  "  will  kill  you  for 
your  skin  ;  "  or,  "  will  kill  you  because  they  hate  you." 

One  opponent  might  be  turned  into  a  wolf,  the  other 
into  a  squirrel ;  or  one  into  a  bear,  the  other  into  a  fox : 
there  is  always  a  strict  correspondence,  however,  between 
the  former  nature  of  each  combatant  and  the  present  char- 
acter of  the  creature  into  which  he  has  been  transformed, 
looked  at,  of  course,  from  the  point  of  view  of  the  original 

The  war  between  the  gods  continued  till  it  produced 
on  land,  in  the  water,  and  the  air,  all  creatures  that  move, 
and  all  plants  that  grow.  There  is  not  a  beast,  bird,  fish, 
reptile,  insect,  or  plant  which  is  not  a  fallen  divinity  • 
and  for  every  one  noted  there  is  a  story  of  its  previous 

This  transformation  of  the  former  people,  or  divinities, 
of  America  was  finished  just  before  the  present  race  of 
men  — that  is,  the  Indians  —  appeared.  This  transforma- 

Introduction.  xv 

tion  does  not  take  place  in  every  American  mythology  as  a 
result  of  single  combat.  Sometimes  a  great  hero  goes 
about  ridding  the  world  of  terrible  oppressors  and  mon- 
sters :  he  beats  them,  turns  them  into  something  insignifi- 
cant ;  after  defeat  they  have  no  power  over  him.  We 
may  see  in  the  woods  some  weak  worm  or  insect  which, 
in  the  first  age,  was  an  awful  power,  but  a  bad  one. 
Stories  of  this  kind  present  some  of  the  finest  adventures, 
and  most  striking  situations,  as  well  as  qualities  of  charac- 
ter in  the  hero  that  invite  admiration. 

In  some  mythologies  a  few  personages  who  are  left 
unchanged  at  the  eve  of  man's  coming,  transform  them- 
selves voluntarily.  The  details  of  the  change  vary  from 
tribe  to  tribe ;  but  in  all  it  takes  place  in  some  described 
way,  and  forms  part  of  the  general  change,  or  metamor- 
phosis, which  is  the  vital  element  in  the  American  system. 
In  many,  perhaps  in  all,  the  mythologies,  there  is  an 
account  of  how  some  of  the  former  people,  or  gods, 
instead  of  fighting  and  taking  part  in  the  struggle  of  crea- 
tion, and  being  transformed,  retained  their  original  char- 
acter, and  either  went  above  the  sky,  or  sailed  away  west- 
ward to  where  the  sky  comes  down,  and  passed  out  under 
it,  and  beyond,  to  a  pleasant  region  where  they  live  in 
delight.  This  is  that  contingent  to  which  I  have  referred, 
that  part  of  ll  the  first  people  "  in  which  no  passion  was 
developed  ;  they  remained  in  primitive  simplicity,  undiffer- 
entiated,  and  are  happy  at  present.  They  correspond  to 
those  gods  of  classic  antiquity  who  enjoyed  themselves 
apart,  and  took  no  interest  whatever  in  the  sufferings  or 
the  joys  of  mankind. 

xvi  Introduction. 

It  is  evident,  at  once,  that  to  the  aborigines  of  America 
the  field  for  beautiful  stories  was  very  extensive. 

Everything  in  nature  had  a  tale  of  its  own,  if  some  one 
would  but  tell  it ;  and  during  the  epoch  of  constructive 
power  in  the  race,  —  the  epoch  when  languages  were  built 
up,  and  great  stories  made,  —  few  things  of  importance  to 
people  of  that  time  were  left  unconsidered ;  hence,  there 
was  among  the  Indians  of  America  a  volume  of  tales  as 
immense,  one  might  say,  as  an  ocean  river.  This  state- 
ment I  make  in  view  of  materials  which  I  have  gathered 
myself,  and  which  are  still  unpublished,  —  materials  which, 
though  voluminous,  are  comparatively  meagre,  merely  a 
hint  of  what  in  some  tribes  was  lost,  and  of  what  in  others 
is  still  uncollected.  What  is  true  of  the  Indians  with 
reference  to  the  volume  of  their  stories,  is  true  of  all  races. 

From  what  is  known  of  the  mind  of  antiquity,  and 
from  what  data  we  have  touching  savage  life  in  the 
present,  we  may  affirm  as  a  theory  that  primitive  beliefs, 
in  all  places,  are  of  the  same  system  essentially  as  the 
American.  In  that  system,  every  individual  existence 
beyond  man  is  a  divinity,  but  a  divinity  under  sentence, 
—  a  divinity  weighed  down  by  fate ;  a  divinity  with  a 
history  behind  it,  a  history  which  is  tragedy  or  comedy  as 
the  case  may  be.  These  histories  extend  along  the  whole 
line  of  experience,  and  include  every  combination  con- 
ceivable to  primitive  man. 

Of  the  pre-Christian  beliefs  of  the  Kelts,  not  much 
is  known  yet  in  detail  and  with  certainty.  What  we  may 
say  at  present  is  this,  that  they  form  a  very  interesting 

Introduction.  xvii 

variant  of  that  aforementioned  (Ecumenical  religion  held 
in  early  ages  by  all  men.  The  peculiarities  and  value  of  the 
variant  will  be  shown  when  the  tales,  beliefs,  and  literary 
monuments  of  the  race  are  brought  fully  into  evidence. 

Now  that  some  statement  has  been  made  touching 
Indian  tales  and  their  contents,  we  may  give,  for  purposes 
of  comparison,  two  or  three  of  them,  either  in  part  or  con- 
densed. These  examples  may  serve  to  show  what  Gaelic 
tales  were  before  they  were  modified  in  structure,  and  be- 
fore human  substitutes  were  put  in  place  of  the  primitive 

It  should  be  stated  here  that  these  accounts  of  a  former 
people,  and  the  life  of  the  world  before  this,  as  given  in  the 
tales,  were  delivered  in  one  place  and  another  by  some  of 
these  "  former  people  "  who  were  the  last  to  be  trans- 
formed, and  who  found  means  to  give  needful  instruction 
to  men.  On  the  Klamath  River,  in  Northwestern  Cali- 
fornia, there  is  a  sacred  tree,  a  former  divinity,  which  has 
been  a  great  source  of  revelation.  On  a  branch  of  the 
Upper  Columbia  is  a  rock  which  has  told  whole  histories 
of  a  world  before  this. 

Among  the  Iroquois,  I  found  a  story  in  possession  of  a 
doctor,  —  that  is,  a  magician,  or  sorcerer,  —  who,  so  far  as 
I  could  learn,  was  the  only  man  who  knew  it,  though  others 
knew  of  it.  This  story  is  in  substance  as  follows  : 

Once  there  was  an  orphan  boy  who  had  no  friends ;  a 
poor,  childless  widow  took  the  little  fellow,  and  reared 
him.  When  the  boy  had  grown  up  somewhat,  he  was  very 
fond  of  bows  and  arrows,  became  a  wonderful  shot.  As  is 


xviii  Introduction. 

usual  with  orphans,  he  was  wiser  than  others,  and  was  able 
to  hunt  when  much  smaller  than  his  comrades. 

He  began  to  kill  birds  for  his  foster-mother ;  gradually 
he  went  farther  from  home,  and  found  more  game.  The 
widow,  had  plenty  in  her  house  now,  and  something  to 
give  her  friends.  The  boy  and  the  woman  lived  on  in  this 
fashion  a  whole  year.  He  was  good,  thoughtful,  serious,  a 
wise  boy,  and  brought  game  every  day.  The  widow  was 
happy  with  her  foster-son. 

At  last  he  came  late  one  evening,  later  than  ever  be- 
fore, and  had  n't  half  so  much  game. 

'*  Why  so  late,  my  son ;  and  why  have  you  so  little 
game?"  asked  the  widow. 

"  Oh,  my  mother,  game  is  getting  scarce  around  here  ; 
I  had  to  go  far  to  find  any,  and  then  it  was  too  late  to  kill 

The  next  day  he  was  late  again,  a  little  later  than  the 
day  before,  and  had  no  more  game  ;  he  gave  the  same  ex- 
cuse. This  conduct  continued  a  week  ;  the  woman  grew 
suspicious,  and  sent  out  a  boy  to  follow  her  foster-son,  and 
see  what  he  was  doing. 

Now  what  had  happened  to  the  boy  ?  ,  He  had  gone  far 
into  the  forest  on  the  day  when  he  was  belated,  farther 
than  ever  before.  In  a  thick  and  dense  place  he  found  a 
round,  grassy  opening ;  in  the  middle  of  this  space  was  a 
large  rock,  shaped  like  a  millstone,  and  lying  on  one  side, 
the  upper  part  was  flat  and  level.  He  placed  his  birds  on 
the  rock,  sprang  up,  and  sat  on  it  to  rest;  the  time  was 
just  after  midday.  While  he  was  sitting  there,  he  heard 

Introduction.  xix 

a  voice  in  the  stone,  which  asked  :  "  Do  you  want  me 
to  tell  a  story?"  He  was  astonished,  said  nothing. 
Again  the  voice  spoke,  and  he  answered  :  "  Yes,  tell  me 
a  story." 

The  voice  began,  and  told  him  a  wonderful  story,  such 
as  he  had  never  heard  before.  He  was  delighted  ;  never 
had  he  known  such  pleasure.  About  the  middle  of  the 
afternoon,  the  story  was  finished  ;  and  the  voice  said : 
"  Now,  you  must  give  me  your  birds  for  the  story ;  leave 
them  where  you  put  them."  He  went  away  toward  home, 
shot  what  birds  he  could  find,  but  did  not  kill  many. 

He  came  the  next  day,  with  birds,  and  heard  a  second 
story ;  and  so  it  went  on  till  the  eighth  day,  when  the  boy 
sent  by  the  foster-mother  followed  secretly.  That  boy 
heard  the  story  too,  discovered  himself,  and  promised  not 
to  tell  Two  days  later  the  widow  sent  a  second  boy  to 
watch  those  two,  and  three  days  after  that  a  third  one.  The 
boys  were  true  to  the  orphan,  however,  and  would  not  tell ; 
the  magic  of  the  stories  overcame  them. 

At  last  the  woman  went  to  the  chief  with  her  trouble ; 
he  sent  a  man  to  watch  the  boys.  This  man  joined  the  boys, 
and  would  not  tell.  The  chief  then  sent  his  most  trusty 
friend,  whom  nothing  could  turn  aside  from  his  errand. 
He  came  on  the  boys  and  the  man,  while  they  were  listen- 
ing to  a  story,  and  threatened  them,  was  very  angry.  The 
voice  stopped  then,  and  said  :  "  I  will  tell  no  more  to-day  ; 
but,  you  boys  and  you  men,  listen  to  me,  take  a  message 
to  the  chief  and  the  people,  —  tell  them  to  come  here  to- 
morrow, to  come  all  of  them,  for  I  have  a  great  word  to 
say  to  every  person." 

xx  Introduction. 

The  boys  and  men  went  home,  and  delivered  the  mes- 
sage. On  the  following  day,  the  whole  people  went  out 
in  a  body.  They  cleared  away  the  thick  grass  in  the  open 
space  ;  and  all  sat  down  around  the  stone,  from  which  the 
voice  came  as  follows  :  — 

"  Now,  you  chief  and  yon  people,  there  was  a  world  be- 
fore this,  and  a  people  different  from  the  people  in  the 
world  now,  —  another  kind  of  people.  I  am  going  to  tell 
you  of  that  people.  I  will  tell  you  all  about  them,  —  what 
they  did  ;  how  they  fixed  this  world  ;  and  what  they  became 
themselves.  You  will  come  here  every  day  till  I  have  told 
all  the  stories  of  the  former  people ;  and  each  time  you 
will  bring  a  little  present  of  what  you  have  at  home." 

The  stone  began,  told  a  story  that  day,  told  more  the 
next  day.  The  people  came  day  after  day,  week  after 
week,  till  the  stone  told  all  it  knew.  Then  it  said  :  "  You 
have  heard  all  the  stories  of  the  former  world ;  you  will 
keep  them,  preserve  them  as  long  as  you  live.  In  after 
times  some  man  will  remember  nearly  all  of  these  stories ; 
another  will  remember  a  good  many ;  a  third,  not  so 
many ;  a  fourth  man,  a  few ;  a  fifth,  one  story ;  a  sixth, 
parts  of  some  stories,  but  not  all  of  any  story.  No  man  will 
remember  every  story  ;  only  the  whole  people  can  remem- 
ber all.  When  one  man  goes  to  another  who  knows  stories, 
and  he  tells  them,  the  first  man  will  give  him  some  present, 
—  tobacco,  a  bit  of  venison,  a  bird,  or  whatever  he  has. 
He  will  do  as  you  have  done  to  me.  I  have  finished." 

Very  interesting  and  important  are  these  statements 
touching  the  origin  of  stories  ;  they  indicate  in  the  Indian 

Introduction.  xxi 

system  revelation  as  often  as  it  is  needed.  In  Ireland,  the 
origin  of  every  Fenian  tale  is  explained  in  a  way  somewhat 
similar.  All  the  accounts  of  Fin  Mac  Cool  and  his  men 
were  given  to  Saint  Patrick  by  Ossian,  after  his  return  from 
Tir  nan  Og,  the  Land  of  the  Young,  where  he  had  lived  three 
hundred  years.  These  Fenian  tales  were  written  down  at 
that  time,  it  is  stated  ;  but  Saint  Patrick  gave  an  order  soon 
after  to  destroy  two-thirds  of  the  number,  for  they  were 
so  entertaining,  he  said,  that  the  people  of  Erin  would  do 
nothing  but  listen  to  them. 

In  every  case  the  Fenian  tales  of  Ireland,  like  the  tales 
of  America,  are  made  up  of  the  adventures  of  heroes  who 
are  not  human.  Some  writers  assert  that  there  have  never 
been  such  persons  on  earth  as  Fin  Mac  Cool  and  his  men  ; 
others  consider  them  real  characters  in  Irish  history.  In 
either  case,  the  substantial  character  of  the  tales  is  not 
changed.  If  Fin  and  his  men  are  historical  personages, 
deeds  of  myth-heroes,  ancient  gods  of  Gaelic  mythology, 
have  been  attributed  to  them,  or  they  have  been  substi- 
tuted for  heroes  who  were  in  the  tales  previously.  If 
Fin  and  his  men  are  not  historical,  they  are  either  the 
original  non-human  heroes,  or  a  later  company  of  similar 
character  substituted  in  the  tales  for  the  original  heroes, 
or  for  some  successors  of  those  heroes ;  at  this  date  it 
would  be  difficult  to  decide  how  often  such  substitutions 
may  have  been  made. 

The  following  tale  of  Pitis  and  Klakherrit,  though  con- 
densed, is  complete  ;  it  is  given  here  not  because  it  is  the 
best  for  illustration,  but  because  it  is  accessible.  The  tale 

xxii  Introduction. 

is  dramatic  ;  the  characters  are  well  known ;  it  is  ancient, 
and  may  be  used  to  show  how  easily  the  character  of  stories 
may  be  modified  without  changing  their  structure,  simply 
by  changing  the  heroes.  This  tale  of  Pitis  and  Klakherrit 
is  not  more  than  third  rate,  if  compared  with  other  Indian 
tales,  perhaps  not  so  high  in  rank  as  that,  still,  it  is  a  good 

At  a  place  called  Memtachnokolton  lived  the  Pitis 
people ;  they  were  numerous,  all  children  of  one  father. 
They  lived  as  they  liked  for  a  long  time,  till  one  of  them 
who  had  gone  hunting  did  not  return  in  the  evening. 
Next  day  two  of  his  brothers  went  to  look  for  him,  and 
found  his  headless  body  four  or  five  miles  away,  at  the 
side  of  a  deer-trail.  They  carried  the  body  home,  and 
buried  it. 

On  the  following  day,  another  went  to  hunt,  and  spent 
the  night  out  in  like  manner.  Next  day  his  headless 
body  was  found,  brought  home,  and  buried.  Each  day  a 
Pitis  went  to  hunt  till  the  last  one  was  killed  ;  and  the  way 
they  died  was  this :  — 

Not  very  far  south  of  the  deer- trail  were  the  Klak  peo- 
ple, at  Klakkewilton.  They  lived  together  in  one  great 
house,  and  were  all  blind  except  one  Klakherrit,  who  was 
young  and  strong,  bad,  a  great  liar,  and  very  fond  of 
gambling.  This  Klakherrit  hated  the  Pitis  people,  and 
wanted  to  kill  them  all ;  he  used  to  go  out  and  watch  for 
them.  When  a  Pitis  went  hunting,  and  was  following  the 
deer,  Klakherrit  sat  down  at  the  trail,  some  distance  ahead ; 
and,  as  the  Pitis  came  up,  he  would  groan,  and  call  out, 

Introduction.  xxiii 

"  Oh,  I  have  a  big  splinter  in  my  foot  •  I  cannot  take  it 
out  alone,  help  me  !  " 

The  Pitis  pitied  him  always,  and  said  :  "  I  will  pull  it 
out  for  you  ; "  then  he  sat  down,  took  the  foot  in  his  hand, 
looked  at  it,  and  pulled  at  the  splinter. 

"  Oh,  you  cannot  pull  it  out  with  your  fingers ;  you 
must  take  it  between  your  teeth."  The  Pitis  took  the 
end  of  the  splinter  between  his  teeth,  and  began  to  pull ; 
that  moment  Klakherrit  cut  his  head  off,  and  carried  it  to 
Klakkewilton,  leaving  the  body  by  the  roadside. 

When  Klakherrit  killed  the  last  Pitis,  he  took  his  skin, 
put  it  on  and  became  just  like  Pitis.  He  went  then  to 
Memtachnokolton,  and  said  to  the  Pitis  women  and  chil- 
dren, "  I  killed  a  deer  to-day  ;  but  Klakherrit  ran  off  with 
it,  so  I  come  home  with  nothing." 

"  We  have  enough  to  eat;  never  mind,"  said  the  women, 
who  thought  he  was  their  man. 

About  dark  that  evening,  Klakherrit,  the  counterfeit 
Pitis,  killed  all  the  women  and  children  except  one  little 
child,  a  boy,  who  escaped  by  some  wonderful  fortune,  and 
hid  under  the  weeds.  Klakherrit  burned  the  village  then, 
and  went  home,  thinking :  "  I  have  killed  every  Pitis." 

Next  morning  little  Pitis  came  out  of  his  hiding-place, 
and  wandered  around  the  burnt  village,  crying.  Soon  an 
old  woman,  Tsosokpokaila,  heard  the  child,  found  him, 
took  him  home,  called  him  grandson,  and  reared  him ;  she 
gave  him  seeds  to  eat  which  she  took  from  her  own  peo- 
ple, —  a  great  many  of  them  lived  in  her  village.  She  was 
a  small  person,  but  active. 

xxiv  Introduction. 

In  a  few  days,  little  Pitis  began  to  talk  ;  and  soon  he  was 
able  to  run  around,  and  play  with  bows  and  arrows.  The 
old  woman  said  to  him  then :  u  My  grandson,  you  must 
never  go  to  the  south  nor  to  the  east.  Go  always  to  the 
north  or  west,  and  don't  go  far ;  you  need  n't  think  to 
meet  any  of  your  people,  they  are  dead,  every  one  of 

All  this  time  Klakherrit  went  out  every  morning,  and 
listened  long  and  carefully  ;  hearing  no  sound  of  a  Pitis, 
he  went  in  one  day,  and  said  to  his  blind  relatives  :  "  I 
hear  nothing,  I  see  nothing  of  the  Pitis  people  ;  they  are 
all  dead." 

There  was  one  old  man  in  the  house,  an  uncle  of  Klak- 
herrit, and  he  answered  :  "  My  nephew,  I  can't  see  any- 
thing ;  but  some  day  you  may  see  a  Pitis.  I  don't  think  all 
the  Pitis  people  are  dead  yet ;  I  think  some  are  living  in 
this 'world  somewhere." 

Klakherrit  said  nothing,  but  went  out  every  morning  as 
before  ;  at  last  he  saw  far  away  in  the  west  a  little  smoke 
rising,  a  slender  streak  of  it.  "  Some  people  are  living  off 
there,"  thought  he  ;  "  who  can  they  be,  I  must  know."  He 
hurried  to  the  house  for  his  choicest  clothes,  and  weapons, 
and  made  ready.  He  took  his  best  bow,  and  a  large  quiver 
of  black  fox-skin,  this  he  filled  with  arrows  :  then  he  put 
beads  of  waterbone  on  his  neck,  and  a  girdle  of  shining 
shells  around  his  waist.  When  dressed  to  his  wish,  he  started , 
and  went  straight  toward  the  fire.  As  he  came  near  it,  he 
walked  slowly,  to  see  who  was  there  ;  for  a  time  he  saw  no 
one,  but  he  heard  pounding  at  the  other  side  of  a  big  pine- 

In  troduction .  xx  v 

tree.  He  went  around  slowly  to  the  other  side,  and  saw  a 
man  pounding  something.  He  would  pound  a  while,  and 
then  pick  up  nuts,  crack  the  shells  with  his  teeth,  and  eat 
the  kernels.  This  person  was  Kaisusherrit ;  and  he  was  so 
busy  that  he  did  not  see  Klakherrit,  who  stood  looking 
on  a  good  while.  "  Hallo,  my  friend  !  "  said  Klakherrit, 
at  last,  "  why  are  you  alone ;  does  no  one  else  live  around 

Kaisusherrit  said  nothing ;  he  went  on  pounding  pine 
cones,  getting  nuts  out  of  them,  did  n't  look  at  the 
stranger.  Around  his  neck  he  had  a  net  bag  filled  with 
pine  nuts.  After  a  while  he  stopped  pounding,  cracked 
some  nuts,  put  the  kernels  in  his  mouth,  and  then  pounded 
pine  cones  again. 

"  My  friend,  you  are  alone  in  this  place.  I  came  here  by 
myself;  there  are  only  two  of  us.  I  saw  your  smoke  this 
morning  ;  and  I  said,  before  I  started,  '  I  will  go  and  see  a 
good  man  to-day.'  I  thought  that  you  were  here,  and  I 
found  you." 

Kaisusherrit  said  nothing,  but  pounded  away. 

"  My  friend,  why  not  talk  to  me ;  why  not  say  some- 
thing ?  Let  us  gamble :  there  is  plenty  of  shade  under 
the  trees  here ;  we  might  as  well  play." 

Kaisusherrit  was  silent,  did  n't  take  his  eyes  off  the  pine 

"  Why  not  talk  to  me,  my  friend  ?  If  you  don't  talk 
to  me,  who  will ;  there  are  only  two  of  us  in  this  place.  I 
came  to  see  you  this  morning,  to  have  a  talk  with  you.  I 
thought  you  would  tell  me  what  is  going  on  around  here 

xx  vi  Introduction. 

where  you  live ;  and  I  would  tell  you  what  I  know.  Stop 
eating ;  let 's  gamble,  and  have  a  good  talk." 

Klakherrit  talked,  and  teased,  and  begged,  all  the  fore- 
noon. He  did  n't  sit  down  once  ;  he  was  on  his  feet  all  the 
time.  At  last,  a  little  after  noon,  Kaisusherrit  looked  up, 
and  said  :  "  Why  do  you  make  all  this  fuss?  That  is  not 
the  way  for  one  grown  person  to  talk  to  another.  You 
act  like  some  little  boy,  teasing,  and  talking,  and  hanging 
around.  Why  don't  you  sit  down  quietly,  and  tell  me 
who  you  are,  what  you  know,  and  where  you  live?  Then 
I  can  tell  you  what  I  like,  and  talk  to  you." 

Klakherrit  sat  down,  and  told  who  he  was.  Then  he 
began  again  :  "  Well,  my  friend,  let  us  play ;  the  shade  is 
good  here  under  the  trees." 

"  Why  do  you  want  to  play?"  asked  Kaisusherrit ;  "  do 
you  see  anything  here  that  you  like  ?  I  have  nothing  to  bet 
against  your  things." 

"  Oh,  you  have,"  said  Klakherrit;  —  "  you  have  your 
pounding  stone,  your  net  full  of  nuts,  your  pine  cones." 

"  Very  well,"  said  Kaisusherrit ;  "  I  will  bet  my  things 
against  yours ;  "  and  he  placed  them  in  one  pile.  Klak- 
herrit took  off  his  weapons  and  ornaments,  and  tied  them 
up  with  Kaisusherrit's  things  in  one  bundle,  so  that  the 
winner  might  have  them  all  ready  to  carry  away.  Kaisus- 
herrit brought  sticks  to  play  with,  and  grass  to  use  with 
the  sticks.  He  sat  down  then  with  his  back  to  the  tree,  and 
motioned  to  the  other  to  sit  down  in  front.  The  bundle 
was  near  the  tree,  and  each  had  a  pile  of  grass  behind  him. 

"  Let  us  go  away  from  this  tree  to  the  shade  out  there ; 
I  don't  like  to  be  near  a  tree,"  said  Klakherrit. 

Introduction.  xxvii 

"  Oh,  I  can't  go  there  ;  I  must  have  my  back  against  a 
tree  when  I  play,"  said  Kaisusherrit.  "  Oh,  come,  I  like 
that  place;  let  us  go  out  there."  "No,  my  back  aches 
unless  I  lean  against  a  tree  ;  I  must  stay  here."  "  Never 
mind  this  time  ;  come  on,  I  want  to  play  out  there,"  urged 
Klakherrit  "  I  won't  go,"  said  Kaisusherrit ;  "  I  must 
play  here." 

They  talked  and  disputed  about  the  place  till  the  mid- 
dle of  the  afternoon  :  but  Kaisusherrit  would  n't  stir  ;  and 
Klakherrit,  who  was  dying  to  play,  agreed  at  last  to  let 
Kaisusherrit  put  his  back  to  the  tree,  and  to  sit  oppo- 
site himself.  They  began,  and  were  playing  about  two 
hours,  when  Klakherrit  was  getting  the  advantage  ;  he  was 
winning.  Both  were  playing  their  best  now,  and  watching 
each  other.  Kaisusherrit  said  then  in  his  mind,  "  You, 
Klakherrit's  grass,  be  all  gone,  be  grass  no  more,  be 
dust."  The  grass  in  Klakherrit's  hand  turned  to  dust. 
He  reached  behind  to  get  more  grass,  but  found  none  ; 
then  he  looked  to  see  where  it  was.  That  moment  Kai- 
susherrit snatched  the  bundle,  and  ran  up  the  tree. 
Klakherrit  sprang  to  his  feet,  looked  through  the  branches  ; 
and  there  he  saw  Kaisusherrit  with  the  bundle  on  his 

"  Oh,  my  friend,"  cried  he,  "  what  is  the  matter ;  what 
are  you  doing?  "  Kaisusherrit  said  nothing,  sat  on  a  limb, 
and  looked  at  the  stranger.  "  Oh,  my  friend,  why  go  up 
in  the  tree  ?  Come,  let  us  finish  the  game  ;  maybe  you  '11 
win  all  my  things.  Come  down." 

Klakherrit  talked  and   talked.     Kaisusherrit   began  to 

xxviii  Introduction. 

come  down  slowly,  stopping  every  little  while  ;  he  reached 
the  lower  limbs.  Klakherrit  thought  he  was  coming  surely  ; 
all  at  once  he  turned,  and  hurried  up  again,  went  to  the 
very  top,  and  sat  there.  Klakherrit  walked  around  the 
tree,  persuading  and  begging.  Kaisusherrit  slipped  down 
a  second  time,  was  near  the  ground,  seemed  to  be  getting 
off  the  tree ;  Klakherrit  was  glad.  Kaisusherrit  did  n't 
get  off,  though  ;  he  went  up  to  the  next  limb,  smiled,  and 
looked  at  Klakherrit,  who  was  getting  terribly  angry. 
Kaisusherrit  went  higher.  Klakherrit  could  hold  in  no 
longer ;  he  was  raging.  He  ran,  picked  up  sharp  rocks, 
and  hurled  them  at  Kaisusherrit.  The  first  one  hit  the  limb 
on  which  he  was  sitting,  and  cut  it  right  off ;  but  he  was 
very  quick  and  sprang  on  to  another.  Klakherrit  hurled 
stone  after  stone  at  the  tree,  with  such  force  and  venom  that 
a  limb  fell  whenever  a  stone  struck  it.  At  dusk  there  was  n't 
a  limb  left  on  the  tree ;  but  Kaisusherrit  was  there  yet.  He 
was  very  quick  and  resolute,  and  dodged  every  stone. 
Klakherrit  drew  breath  a  moment,  and  began  again  to 
hurl  stones  at  Kaisusherrit ;  wherever  one  struck  the  tree,  it 
took  the  bark  off.  At  dark  the  tree  was  all  naked  and 
battered,  not  a  branch  nor  a  bit  of  bark  left.  Kaisusherrit 
was  on  it  yet ;  but  Klakherrit  could  n't  see  him.  Klak- 
herrit had  to  go  home ;  when  he  went  into  the  house,  he 
said,  "  Well,  I  've  met  a  man  to-day  who  is  lucky ;  he  won 
all  my  things  in  play." 

"  My  son,"  said  Klakherrit's  father,  who  was  very  old, 
"  you  have  been  telling  us  that  you  are  a  great  player ;  but 
1  thought  all  the  time  that  you  would  meet  a  person  some 

Introduction.  xxix 

day  who  would  beat  you.  You  have  travelled  much  to 
find  such  a  one ;  you  have  found  him." 

Next  morning  Klakherrit  went  out,  and  saw  a  smoke  in 
the  west.  "  That  is  my  friend,"  said  he  ;  "I  must  see 
him."  He  took  his  best  dress  and  weapons,  and  soon 
reached  the  fire.  "  Hallo,  my  friend,"  said  Klakherrit, 
"I've  come  to  play  with  you  to-day."  "Very  well." 
answered  Kaisusherrit,  who  was  wearing  Klakherrit's 
clothes  that  he  had  carried  up  the  tree.  "  But,  my  friend, 
you  won't  do  as  you  did  yesterday?  "  "  Oh,  no  ;  I  '11  play 
nicely  to-day,  I  '11  play  to  please  you."  They  tied  the 
stakes  in  one  bundle,  brought  sticks  and  grass.  Kaisus- 
herrit put  his  back  to  a  tree  much  larger  than  the  first 
one.  Klakherrit  wished  to  play  in  the  open ;  Kaisusherrit 
would  n't  go  there.  They  disputed  and  quarrelled  till 
Klakherrit  had  to  yield ;  but  he  made  up  his  mind  not  to 
let  Kaisusherrit  go  up  the  tree  this  time. 

They  played  as  before  till  the  middle  of  the  afternoon, 
when  Klakherrit  was  winning.  Kaisusherrit  turned  the 
grass  into  dust,  and  was  up  the  tree  before  Klakherrit 
could  stop  him.  The  deeds  of  the  day  before  were  re- 
peated with  greater  force.  Kaisusherrit  was  more  cynical 
in  his  conduct.  Klakherrit  was  more  enraged  ;  he  cut  all 
the  limbs,  and  stripped  all  the  bark  from  this  tree  with 
stone-throwing.  At  dark  he  had  to  go  home,  leaving 
Kaisusherrit  unhurt. 

On  the  third  morning,  Klakherrit  was  watching  for 
smoke ;  he  wanted  to  win  back  what  he  had  lost  in  the 
west.  Soon  he  saw  a  herd  of  deer  pass,  followed  by 
a  Pitis. 

xxx  Introduction. 

It  was  the  end  of  summer  ;  little  Pitis  had  grown  very 
fast,  was  a  young  man  now.  While  Klakherrit  was  gam- 
bling, Pitis  told  his  grandmother  that  he  wanted  to  hunt. 
"Oh,  my  grandson,"  said  she,  "you  must  never  go  hunt- 
ing ;  all  your  people  were  killed  while  out  hunting.  I  don't 
want  you  to  hunt ;  I  don't  want  you  to  be  killed." 

"  I  don't  want  to  be  killed,  my  grandmother ;  but  I 
don't  like  to  stay  around  the  house  here  all  the  time.  I 
want  to  find  food  and  bring  it  home  ;  I  want,  besides,  to 
see  where  my  people  were  killed.  I  want  to  see  the  place 
where  they  died ;  I  want  to  look  at  the  person  who  killed 

"  My  grandson,  I  don't  like  to  hear  you  talk  in  that 
way  ;  I  don't  want  you  to  go  far  from  this  house.  There  is 
a  very  bad  person  south  of  us  :  he  is  the  one  who  killed 
all  your  people;  he  is  Klakherrit." 

"  My  grandmother,  I  can't  help  going,  —  I  must  go  ;  I 
must  see  the  place  where  my  people  were  killed.  If  I 
can  find  him,  I  must  look  at  Klakherrit,  who  killed  all  my 

Next  morning,  young  Pitis  rose,  and  dressed  himself 
beautifully.  He  took  a  good  bow,  and  a  quiver  of  black  fox- 
skin  ;  his  arrows  were  pointed  with  white  flint ;  in  his  hair 
he  had  Winishuyat  *  to  warn  him  of  danger.  "  My  grand- 
mother," said  he,  at  parting,  "do  the  best  you  can  while 
I  am  gone."  The  old  woman  began  to  cry,  and  said, 

1  This  Winishuyat  is  represented  as  no  larger  than  a  man's 
thumb,  and  confined  under  the  hair  on  the  top  of  the  head,  the 
hair  being  tied  over  him.  He  is  foresight  itself.  Winis  means 
"  he  sees,"  what  huyat  means  I  have  not  discovered  yet. 

Introduction.  xxxi 

"  Oh,  my  grandson,  be  on  the  watch,  and  guard  yourself 
well ;  take  good  care,  my  grandson." 

Pitis  started  off;  and,  when  out  of  sight,  Winishuyat  said, 
"  My  brother,  a  little  ahead  of  us  are  deer.  All  your  rela- 
tives were  killed  by  Klakherrit  for  the  sake  of  these  deer. 
The  deer  obeyed  your  people,  and  went  wherever  they 
told  them."  Pitis  saw  twenty  deer,  and,  a  few  moments 
later,  twenty  more.  He  shouted  ;  they  ran  around,  stopped, 
and  looked  at  him.  "I  want  you,  deer,"  said  Pitis,  "to 
go  toward  the  south,  and  go  past  Klakherrit's  house,  so 
that  he  can  see  you  and  I  can  see  him." 

Pitis  shouted  three  times  ;  and  Klakherrit,  who  was  watch- 
ing for  Kaisusherrit's  smoke,  heard  him.  The  forty  deer 
went  on  one  after  another  in  a  line,  Pitis  following.  When 
Klakherrit  saw  them,  he  ran  into  the  house,  and  called  to  his 
relatives  :  "  Deer  are  coming  ;  and  a  Pitis  is  with  them  ! " 

"  Oh,  my  nephew,"  cried  the  blind  uncle,  "  you  kept 
saying  all  the  time  that  «here  was  not  another  Pitis  in  this 
world ;  but  I  knew  there  were  some  left  somewhere. 
Did  n't  I  say  that  you  would  see  Pitis  people  ;  did  n't 
I  tell  you  that  you  had  n't  killed  all  that  people,  my 
nephew?  You  will  meet  a  Pitis  to-day." 

Klakherrit  made  no  answer ;  he  took  his  bow  and  quiver 
quickly,  and  hurried  out.  The  deer  had  passed  the  house 
and  Pitis  was  just  passing.  Klakherrit  saw  him  well  ;  and 
Pitis  had  a  good  look  at  Klakherrit.  Klakherrit  went  away 
on  one  side  of  the  trail,  got  ahead  of  the  deer,  and  sat 
down  at  the  side  of  the  trail  near  a  rock.  When  they 
came  up,  the  deer  passed  him  ;  but  Winishuyat  said  to 

xxxii  Introduction. 

Pitis,  "  My  brother,  Klakherrit  is  near  that  rock  right  there ; 
when  you  pass,  don't  stop,  don't  speak  to  him.  It  is  he 
who  killed  our  people ;  he  wants  to  kill  you." 

When  Pitis  came  to  the  rock;  Klakherrit  jumped  up  on 
one  leg,  and  cried,  "  Oh,  my  friend,  I  can't  travel  farther. 
I  was  going  to  help  you,  but  I  have  this  great  splinter  in 
my  foot  •  draw  it  out  for  me."  Pitis  did  n't  look  at  him, 
went  straight  past.  A  little  later,  Winishuyat  said,  "  My 
brother,  on  the  other  side  of  that  clump  of  bushes  your 
enemy  is  sitting :  go  by  ;  don't  speak  to  him."  When 
Pitis  came,  Klakherrit  begged  him  again  to  pull  the  splin- 
ter out  of  his  foot ;  but  Pitis  did  n't  stop,  did  n't  speak  to 
him.  Five  times  that  day  did  Klakherrit  run  ahead  by 
side-paths,  and  beg  Pitis  to  pull  a  splinter  out  of  his  foot ; 
but  Pitis  never  stopped,  never  answered  him.  In  the  even- 
ing, Pitis  said  to  the  deer,  "  You,  deer,  meet  me  in  the 
morning  where  you  met  me  to-day."  That  night,  Pitis 
said  to  his  grandmother,  "  I  saw  Klakherrit ;  he  bothered 
me  all  day.  Five  times  he  was  ahead  of  me  with  a  sore 
foot ;  but  if  his  foot  is  sore,  how  can  he  travel  so?  There 
must  be  a  great  many  of  his  people  just  like  him." 

"  My  grandson,  Klakherrit  has  many  relatives  ;  but  he 
is  the  only  one  of  that  people  who  can  travel.  All  the  rest 
are  blind  ;  he  is  the  one  who  was  ahead  of  you  all  day." 

"  Well,  grandmother,  I  have  seen  Klakherrit ;  I  know 
all  about  him.  T  know  what  I  can  do  to  him  ;  I  shall  fol- 
low the  deer  to-morrow."  (Pitis  did  n't  hunt  deer ;  he 
just  followed  them.)  Next  morning,  Pitis  rose  very  early, 
bathed  in  the  creek,  ate  his  breakfast,  and  dressed  for  the 

Introduction.  xxxiii 

road ;  then  he  brought  two  flat  stones,  a  blue  and  a  white 
one,  each  about  a  foot  wide,  put  them  down  before  the 
old  woman,  and  said,  "  My  grandmother,  watch  these 
two  stones  all  day.  If  you  see  thick  black  spots  of  blood 
on  the  blue  stone,  you  may  know  that  I  am  killed ;  but  if 
you  see  light  red  blood  on  the  white  stone,  you  may  know 
that  I  am  safe."  The  old  woman  began  to  cry;  but  he 
went  to  the  place  where  he  met  the  deer  the  day  before. 
He  sent  them  by  the  same  road  ;  and,  after  a  while,  he  met 
Klakherrit,  who  begged  him  to  pull  the  splinter  out  of 
his  foot.  Pitis  passed  in  silence ;  when  out  of  sight,  he 
stopped  the  deer,  and  said,  "  Now,  my  deer,  let  the 
strongest  of  you  go  ahead ;  and  if  Klakherrit  is  by  the 
trail  again,  run  at  him,  and  stamp  him  into  the  ground 
with  your  fore-feet ;  jump  on  him,  every  one  of  you." 

Some  distance  farther  on,  they  saw  Klakherrit  sitting 
at  the  side  of  the  trail.  The  first  deer  ran  and  thrust  his 
hoofs  into  his  body ;  the  second  and  the  third  did  the 
same,  and  so  did  the  whole  forty.  He  was  all  cut  to 
pieces,  one  lump  of  dirt  and  blood.  The  deer  went  on  ; 
Pitis  followed.  Soon  Pitis  called  to  the  deer,  "  We  '11  go 
back  again  ;  "  and  he  walked  ahead  till  they  returned  to 
where  they  had  trampled  his  enemy.  Klakherrit  was  up 
again,  begging,  "  Oh,  my  friend,  pull  this  great  splinter 
out  of  my  foot ;  I  cannot  do  it  alone,  help  me  !  "  Pitis 
sent  the  deer  at  him  again ;  they  trampled  him  into  the 
ground,  and  went  on.  When  they  had  gone  perhaps  two 
miles,  Klakherrit  was  sitting  at  the  roadside  as  before,  and 
begged  Pitis  to  pull  the  splinter  out  of  his  foot.  Pitis 

xxxiv  Introduction. 

was  terribly  angry  now  ;  he  stopped  in  front  of  Klakherrit, 
and  walked  up  to  him.  "  My  friend,"  said  he,  "  what  are 
you  talking  about ;  what  do  you  want  ?  Are  you  one  per- 
son, or  are  there  many  like  you  ?  You  bothered  me  all 
yesterday ;  what  do  you  want  to-day  ?  " 

"  I  am  only  one  person,"  said  Klakherrit ;  "  but,  my 
friend,  pull  this  splinter  out ;  my  foot  pains  me  terribly." 

"But  how  do  you  run  so  fast,  and  go  ahead  of  me 
every  time,  if  your  foot  is  hurt;  how  do  you  pull  the  splin- 
ter out  ?  " 

"  I  get  it  out  at  last,  and  run  ahead  ;  but  by  that  time 
there  is  another  splinter  in  my  foot." 

"  Why  do  you  follow  me  ;  what  do  you  want ;  why  don't 
you  let  me  alone?  "  inquired  Pitis,  sitting  down. 

"  Oh,  my  friend,  pull  this  splinter  out ;  my  foot  is  so 
sore  I  cannot  talk.  Pull  the  splinter,  and  I  will  tell  you." 

Pitis  took  hold  of  the  splinter  and  pulled,  but  no  use, 
he  could  not  draw  it  out.  "  Take  it  between  your  teeth, 
that  is  the  only  way,"  said  Klakherrit. 

"My  brother,"  said  Winishuyat,  "look  out  for  your 
life  now ;  that  is  the  way  in  which  Klakherrit  killed  all 
your  people.  Do  what  he  says ;  but  dodge  when  I  tell 

Pitis  took  the  splinter  between  his  teeth,  and  began  to 
pull.  That  moment  Klakherrit  drew  his  knife,  and  struck  ; 
but  before  the  knife  came  down,  Winishuyat  cried, 
"  Dodge  to  the  left !  "  Pitis  dodged,  and  just  escaped. 
Pitis  struck  now  with  his  white-flint  knife.  Every  blow  he 
gave  hit  Klakherrit ;  he  dodged  every  blow  himself  so 

Introduction.  xxxv 

that  it  struck  only  his  clothes.  Klakherrit  was  very 
strong,  and  fought  fiercely.  Pitis  was  quick,  and  hit  all 
the  time.  The  fight  was  a  hard  one.  In  the  middle  of 
the  afternoon,  Pitis  was  very  tired,  and  had  all  his  clothes 
cut  to  pieces;  and  Klakherrit's  head  was  cut  off.  But 
the  head  would  not  die ;  it  fought  on,  and  Pitis  cut  at  it 
with  his  knife. 

Now  Winishuyat  called  out,  "  My  brother,  you  can't 
kill  Klakherrit  in  that  way ;  you  can't  kill  him  with  any 
weapon  on  this  earth.  Klakherrit's  life  is  in  the  sky; 
Klakherrit's  heart  is  up  there  on  the  right  side  of  the 
place  where  the  sun  is  at  midday." 

Pitis  looked  up,  and  saw  the  heart.  He  stretched  out 
his  right  hand  then,  pulled  down  the  heart,  and  squeezed 
it ;  that  moment  Klakherrit  died. 

Pitis  took  the  skin  off  Klakherrit's  body,  put  it  on  him- 
self, and  became  just  like  him.  He  cut  up  his  enemy's 
flesh,  then  carried  it  to  Klakkewilton,  went  into  the  house> 
and  said,  "  I  have  some  venison  to-day ;  I  will  roast  it." 
He  roasted  Klakherrit's  flesh,  and  gave  it  to  his  relatives. 
All  ate  except  the  old  uncle,  who  grumbled,  and  said, 
"  This  meat  does  n't  seem  right  to  me ;  it  has  the  smell 
of  our  people."  Pitis  walked  out,  pulled  off  Klakherrit's 
skin,  threw  it  into  the  house,  and  was  himself  again  ;  then 
he  set  fire  to  the  house,  and  stopped  the  door.  He  lis- 
tened ;  there  was  a  great  noise  inside  and  an  uproar.  If 
any  broke  through,  he  threw  them  back  again.  At  last 
one  woman  burst  out,  and  rushed  away  ;  she  escaped,  and 
from  her  were  born  all  the  Klaks  in  the  world.  But  she 

xxxvi  Introduction. 

and  they  were  a  people  no  longer ;  they  had  become  rat-  \ 
tlesnakes.     The  Pitis  people  became  quails,  and  Kaisus- 
herrit's  people,  gray  squirrels. 

The  old  woman,  Tsosokpokaila,  who  reared  Pitis,  be- 
came a  weed  about  a  foot  high,  which  produces  many 
seeds ;  the  quails  are  fond  of  these  seeds. 

The  following  summary  shows  in  outline  the  main  parts 
of  a  tale  which  could  not  be  so  easily  modified  as  the 
preceding,  and  one  which  is  much  more  important  as  to 

Before  thunder  and  lightning  were  in  this  world,  Sula- 
pokaila  (trout  old  woman)  had  a  house  on  the  river  Wini- 
mem,  near  Mount  Shasta.  One  evening,  a  maiden  called 
Wimaloimis  (grisly  bear  maiden)  came,  and  asked  a 
night's  lodging  of  the  old  woman;  she  gave  it.  Next 
morning,  Wimaloimis  wanted  to  eat  Sulapokaila,  and  had 
almost  caught  her,  when  the  old  woman  turned  into  water, 
and  escaped.  Wimaloimis  went  her  way  then,  but  re- 
mained in  the  neighborhood.  She  built  a  house,  lay  down 
near  the  door,  and  gazed  at  the  sun  for  a  long  time ;  at 
last  she  grew  pregnant  from  gazing.  In  time  she  had 
twins.  When  the  first  one  was  born,  she  tried  to  swallow 
it ;  but  the  infant  gave  out  a  great  flash  of  light  and  fright- 
ened her.  When  the  second  child  was  born,  she  tried  to 
eat  that ;  but  it  roared  terribly,  and  she  was  so  frightened 
that  she  rushed  out  of  the  house,  and  ran  off.  The  old 
woman,  Sulapokaila,  came  and  took  the  children  home, 
washed  them,  cared  for  them,  named  the  first-born  Walo- 
kit  (Lightning),  and  the  second  Tumukit  (Thunder). 

Introduction.  xxxvii 

The  boys  grew  very  fast,  and  were  soon  young  men. 
One  day,  Walokit  asked,  "  Brother,  do  you  know  who  our 
mother  is,  who  our  father  is  ?  " 

"  I  do  not  know,"  answered  Tumukit ;  "  let  us  ask  our 

They  went  and  asked  the  old  woman.  "  I  know  your 
father  and  mother,"  replied  the  old  woman.  "Your  mother 
is  very  bad  ;  she  came  to  my  house,  and  tried  to  eat  me. 
She  wanted  to  eat  trees,  bushes,  everything  she  saw. 
When  you  were  born,  she  tried  to  eat  you  ;  but  somehow 
you  little  boys  frightened  her.  She  ran  away,  and  is  living 
on  that  mountain  yonder.  Your  father  is  good  ;  he  is  liv- 
ing up  there  in  the  sky." 

A  couple  of  days  later,  Walokit  said  to  his  brother, 
"Let  us  go  and  find  our  mother."  They  went  off,  and 
found  her  half-way  up  on  the  slope  of  a  mountain,  sitting 
in  front  of  her  house,  and  weaving  a  basket.  Her  head 
was  down  ;  she  did  not  see  them  even  when  near.  They 
stood  awhile  in  silence,  and  then  walked  right  up  to  her. 

"  Oh,  my  children  ! "  cried  she,  putting  the  basket 
aside,  "  come  into  the  house,  and  sit  down."  She  went 
in  ;  the  boys  followed.  She  sat  down. 

"  Come  here,  and  I  '11  comb  your  hair ;  come  both  of 
you,  my  children."  They  sat  down  in  front  of  her,  and 
bent  their  heads.  She  stroked  their  hair,  took  her  comb, 
and  began  to  comb ;  next,  she  opened  her  mouth  wide, 
and  was  going  to  swallow  both  at  one  gulp.  That  mo- 
ment some  voice  said,  "  Look  out,  boys ;  she  is  going  to 
eat  you."  They  saw  no  one,  but  heard  the  voice.  Next 

xxxviii  Introduction. 

instant,  Walokit  flashed,  and  Tumukit  roared.  The 
mother,  dazzled,  deafened,  rushed  out  of  the  house  in 
great  terror. 

"  I  don't  believe  she  is  our  mother,"  said  Tumukit 

"  I  don't  believe  she  is  either,"  answered  Walokit. 
They  were  both  very  angry,  and  said,  "  She  is  a  bad 
woman  anyhow.  She  may  be  our  mother ;  but  she  is  a 
bad  woman." 

They  went  home,  and  later  Walokit  found  his  mother, 
and  killed  her.  Tumukit  merely  stood  by,  and  roared. 
The  woman's  body  was  torn  to  pieces,  and  scattered. 
The  brothers  wept,  and  went  to  their  grandmother,  who 
sent  them  to  various  sacred  springs  to  purify  themselves, 
and  wash  away  the  blood  of  their  mother.  When  they 
had  done  that,  after  many  pilgrimages,  they  said,  "  We 
will  go  to  our  father,  if  we  can." 

Next  day  they  said,  "  Grandmother,  we  will  stay  with 
you  to-morrow,  and  leave  you  the  next  day."  On  the  sec- 
ond morning,  they  said,  "  We  are  going,  and  you,  our 
grandmother,  must  do  the  the  best  you  can  without  us." 

"To  what  place  are  you  going,  my  grandsons?" 

"  We  are  going  to  our  father,  if  we  can." 

When  the  old  woman  heard  this,  she  went  into  the 
house,  and  brought  out  a  basket  cup  full  of  trout  blood 
(water),  and  gave  it  to  Walokit,  "Rub  this  over  your 
whole  body ;  use  it  always ;  it  will  give  you  strength. 
No  matter  how  much  you  use  the  blood,  the  basket  will 
never  be  empty." 

They  took  farewell  of  the  old  woman,  and  went  to  the 

Introduction.  xxxix 

upper  side  of  the  sky,  but  did  not  go  to  their  father. 
They  live  up  there  now,  and  go  over  the  whole  world, 
sometimes  to  find  their  father,  sometimes  for  other  pur- 
poses. When  they  move,  we  se"e  one,  and  hear  the  other. 

This  tale  has  a  few  of  the  disagreeable  features  peculiar 
to  some  of  the  early  myth-tales  of  all  races,  —  tales  which, 
if  not  forgotten,  are  misunderstood  as  the  race  advances, 
and  then  become  tragedies  of  horror.  Still,  such  tales 
are  among  the  most  precious  for  science,  if  analyzed 

In  another  tale,  told  me  by  the  same  man  who  related 
this  one,  the  sun,  after  his  road  had  been  marked  out, 
finally,  was  warned  against  his  own  children,  the  grisly 
bears,  who  would  beset  his  path  through  the  sky,  and  do 
their  best  to  devour  him. 

The  grisly  bear  maiden,  Wimaloimis,  is  a  terrible  crim- 
inal ;  she  piles  horror  upon  horror.  She  tries  to  eat  up  the 
hospitable  trout  woman  who  gives  her  lodging ;  she  has 
twins  from  her  own  father ;  she  tries  to  eat  her  own 
children ;  she  brings  them  to  commit  matricide  under 
cruel  conditions.  The  house  of  Pelops  and  Lot's  daugh- 
ters, combined,  barely  match  her.  If  the  tale  of  Wima- 
loimis had  belonged  to  early  Greece,  and  had  survived 
till  the  time  of  the  Attic  tragedians,  the  real  nature  of  the 
actors  in  it  would  have  been  lost,  in  all  likelihood,  and 
then  it  might  have  served  as  a  striking  example  of  sin 
and  its  punishment.  Instead  of  discovering  who  the 
dramatis  persons  were  really,  the  people  of  that  time 
would  have  made  them  all  human.  In  our  day,  we  try 


to  discover  the  point  of  view  of  the  old  myth-maker,  to 
learn  what  it  really  was  that  he  dealt  with.  In  case  we 
succeed,  we  are  able  to  see  that  many  of  the  repulsive 
features  of  ancient  myths  were  not  only  natural  and  ex- 
plicable,, but  absolutely  unavoidable.  The  cloud,  a  grisly 
bear,  is  a  true  daughter  of  the  sun.  The  sun  and  the 
cloud  are  undoubtedly  the  parents  of  the  twin  brothers, 
Thunder  and  Lightning ;  there  are  no  other  parents  pos- 
sible for  them.  That  the  cloud,  according  to  myth  de- 
scription, tried  to  devour  her  own  children,  and  was 
destroyed  at  last,  and  torn  to  pieces  by  them,  is  quite  true. 
When  we  know  the  real  elements  of  the  tale,  we  find  it 
perfectly  accurate  and  truthful.  If  the  personages  in  it 
were  represented  as  human,  it  would  become  at  once,  what 
many  a  tale  like  it  is  made  to  be,  repulsive  and  horrible. 

Among  Gaelic  tales  there  are  few  in  which  the  heroes 
are  of  the  earliest  period,  though  there  are  many  in  which 
primitive  elements  are  prominent,  and  some  in  which  they 
predominate.  In  a  time  sufficiently  remote,  Gaelic  tales 
were  made  up  altogether  of  the  adventures  of  non-human 
heroes  similar  to  those  in  the  tales  of  America,  —  that  is, 
heroes  in  the  character  of  beasts,  birds,  and  other  living 
creatures,  as  well  as  the  phenomena  and  elements  of 

Beasts  and  birds  are  frequent  in  Gaelic  tales  yet ;  but 
they  never  fill  the  chief  role  in  any  tale.  At  most  they  are 
friends  of  the  hero,  and  help  him  ;  not  infrequently  he  could 
not  gain  victory  without  them.  If  on  the  bad  side,  the 
role  is  more  prominent,  a  monster,  or  terrible  beast,  may 

Introduction.  xli 

be  the  leading  opponent,  or  be  one  in  a  series  of  powerful 

In  a  few  Gaelic  tales,  phenomena  or  processes  of  nature 
appear  still  as  chief  actors  ;  but  they  appear  in  human  guise. 
The  two  tales  in  which  this  position  is  most  evident,  are 
those  of  Mor  and  Glas  Gainach,  —  not  the  tale  of  Mor  as 
given  in  this  volume,  but  an  older  tale,  and  one  which,  so 
far  as  I  know,  exists  only  in  fragments  and  sayings.  This 
tale  of  Mor,  which  I  gathered  bit  by  bit  in  one  place  and 
another  through  West  Kerry,  is,  in  substance,  as  follows  : 

Mor  (big),  a  very  large  woman,  came  by  sea  to  Dunmore 
Head,  with  her  husband,  Lear,  who  could  not  live  with 
Mor,  and  went  around  by  sea  to  the  extreme  north,  where 
he  stayed,  thus  putting,  as  the  phrase  runs,  "  All  Ireland 
between  himself  and  the  wife."  Mor  had  sons,  and  lived 
at  Dun  Quin  (the  ruins  of  her  house  Tivorye  [Mor's 
house],  are  shown  yet)  at  the  foot  of  Mount  Eagle.  She 
lived  on  pleasantly ;  much  came  to  her  from  the  sea.  She 
was  very  proud  of  her  sons,  and  cared  for  no  one  in  the 
world  except  them.  The  woman  increased  greatly  in  sub- 
stance, was  rich  and  happy  till  her  sons  were  enticed 
away,  and  went  to  sea. 

One  day,  she  climbed  to  the  top  of  Mount  Eagle,  and, 
for  the  first  time,  saw  Dingle  Bay  with  the  highlands  of 
Iveragh  and  Killarney.  "  Oh,  but  is  n't  Erin  the  big  coun- 
try ;  is  n't  it  widely  spread  out !  "  cried  she.  Mor  was 
enormously  bulky,  and  exerted  herself  to  the  utmost  in 
climbing  the  mountain.  At  the  top,  certain  necessities  of 
nature  came  on  her ;  as  a  result  of  relieving  these,  a  num- 

xlii  Introduction. 

her  of  deep  gullies  were  made  in  Mount  Eagle,  in  various 
directions.  These  serve  to  this  day  as  water-courses  ;  and 
torrents  go  through  them  to  the  ocean  during  rainfalls. 

News  was  brought  to  Mor  on  the  mountain  that  her 
sons  had  been  enticed  away  to  sea  by  magic  and  deceit. 
Left  alone,  all  her  power  and  property  vanished  ;  she  with- 
ered, lost  her  strength,  went  mad,  and  then  disappeared, 
no  man  knew  whither.  "  All  that  she  had  came  by  the 
sea,"  as  people  say,  "  and  went  with  the  sea."  She  who 
had  been  disagreeable  and  proud  to  such  a  degree  that 
her  own  husband  had  to  leave  her ;  the  woman  whose  de- 
light was  in  her  children  and  her  wealth,  —  became  the  most 
desolate  person  in  Erin,  childless,  destitute,  a  famishing 
maniac  that  disappeared  without  a  trace. 

There  is  an  interesting  variant  to  this  story,  referring  to 
Lear,  Mor's  husband.  This  represents  him  not  as  going  to 
the  other  end  of  Erin,  but  as  stopping  where  he  touched 
land  first ;  there  he  died,  and  was  buried.  This  is  the  ver- 
sion confirmed  by  the  grave  mound  at  Dunmore  Head. 

From  the  artistic  point  of  view,  it  is  to  be  regretted  that 
the  tale  of  Mor  has  not  come  down  to  us  complete  with 
its  variants ;  but  we  may  be  thankful  for  what  we  have. 
The  fragments  extant,  and  the  sayings,  establish  the  char- 
acter of  the  tale,  especially  in  view  of  a  most  interesting 
bit  of  testimony  preserved  in  a  book  published  in  1757. 

After  I  had  collected  all  the  discoverable  scraps  and 
remnants  of  the  tale,  I  came  upon  the  statement  in  Smith's 
"History  of  Kerry,"  page  182,  that  Dunmore  Head  was 
called  by  the  people  thereabout,  "  Mary  Geerane's 

In  {reduction.  x  1  i  i  i 

house."  The  author  adds  the  name  in  Gaelic  (which  he 
did  not  know),  in  the  following  incorrect  form  :  "Ty-Vor- 
ney  Geerane."  Now  this  sentence  does  not  mean  Mary 
Geerane's  house  at  all,  but  the  house  of  Mor,  daughter  of 
the  sun,  Tigh  Mhoire  ni  Greine,  pronounced,  "  Thee  Vorye 
nyee  Grainye."  Here  is  the  final  fact  needed,  —  a  fact  pre- 
served with  an  ignorance  of  its  nature  and  value  that  is 
absolutely  trustworthy. 

What  does  the  story  mean  now  ?  Mor,  daughter  of  the 
sun,  leaves  her  husband,  Lear,  and  comes  to  land  herself. 
The  husband  cannot  follow  ;  for  Lear  is  the  plain  of  the  sea, 
—  the  sea  itself  in  its  outward  aspect.  Lear  is  the  Neptune 
of  the  Gaels.  One  version  represents  Lear  as  coming  to 
his  end  at  Dunmore  Head  ;  the  other,  as  going  around  the 
island  to  Donaghedee,  to  live  separated  from  a  proud  and 
disagreeable  wife  by  the  land  of  all  Ireland.  Each  of 
these  variants  is  equally  consonant  with  the  character  of 
the  couple.  Let  us  pursue  the  tale  further.  Mor,  the 
cloud  woman,  —  for  this  she  is,  —  has  issue  at  Dun  Quin, 
has  sons  (the  rain-drops),  and  is  prosperous,  is  proud  of 
her  sons,  cares  only  for  them;  but  her  sons  cannot  stay 
with  her,  they  are  drawn  to  the  sea  irresistibly.  She  climbs 
Mount  Eagle,  is  amazed  at  the  view  from  the  summit,  sits 
down  there  and  performs  her  last  act  on  earth,  the  result 
of  which  is  those  tortuous  and  remarkably  deep  channels 
on  the  sides  of  Mount  Eagle.  After  that  she  hears  on 
the  mountain  that  her  sons  are  gone,  she  vanishes  from 
human  ken,  is  borne  out  of  sight  from  the  top  of  Mount 

xliv  Introduction. 

Such  is  the  myth  of  the  cloud  woman,  Mor  (the  big 
one),  a  thing  of  wonder  for  the  people. 

In  "  Glas  Gainach,"  with  which  this  volume  opens,  we 
have,  perhaps,  the  best  tale  preserved  by  memory  in 
Ireland.  The  tale  itself  is  perfect,  apparently,  and  its 
elements  are  ancient. 

The  prize  for  exertion,  the  motive  for  action,  in  this 
tale,  is  a  present  from  King  Under  the  Wave  to  his  friend 
the  King  of  Spain.  This  King  of  Spain  is,  of  course, 
supposititious.  Who  the  former  friend  was  whose  place  he 
usurped,  we  have  no  means  of  knowing ;  but  we  shall  not 
be  far  out  of  the  way,  I  think,  if  we  consider  him  to  be 
the  monarch  of  a  cloud-land,  —  a  realm  as  intangible 
as  the  Nephelokokkygia  of  Aristophanes,  but  real. 

In  Elin  Gow,  the  swordsmith,  we  have  a  character 
quite  as  primitive  as  the  cow  or  her  owners.  Elin  Gow 
is  found  in  Scotland  as  well  as  in  Ireland.  Ellin  Gowan's 
Height,  in  Guy  Mannering,  is  simply  Elin  Gow's  Height, 
Gowan  (Gobhan  in  Gaelic)  being  merely  the  genitive 
case  of  Gow  (Gobha).  Elin  Gow  means  simply  Elin 
the  smith.  Under  whatever  name,  or  wherever  he  may 
be,  Elin  Gow  occupies  a  position  in  Gaelic  similar  to  that 
of  Hephaestos  in  Greek,  or  Vulcan  in  Latin  mythology  •• 
he  is  the  maker  of  weapons,  the  forger  of  the  bolt. 

In  a  short  tale  of  Glas  Gavlen,  which  I  obtained  near 
Carrick,  County  Donegal,  it  is  stated  that  the  cow  came 
down  from  the  sky.  According  to  the  tale,  she  gives 
milk  in  unlimited  quantities  to  all  people  without  excep- 
tion. Time  after  time  the  rich  or  powerful  try  to  keep 

Introduction.  xlv 

her  for  their  own  use  exclusively,  but  she  escapes.  Ap- 
pearing first  at  Dun  Kinealy.  she  goes  finally  to  Glen 
Columkil  near  the  ocean,  where  a  strong  man  tries  to 
confine  her  ;  but  she  rises  in  the  air,  and,  clearing  the  high 
ridge  on  the  northern  side  of  the  glen,  disappears.  Since 
then,  there  is  no  free  milk  in  Erin,  and  none  but  that 
which  common  cows  give. 

The  cow,  Glas  Gainach  or  Gaunach  or  Gavlen,  for  all 
three  refer  to  the  same  beast,  betrays  at  once  her  relation- 
ship with  those  cows  of  India  so  famous  in  the  Rig  Veda, 
those  cloud  cows  whose  milk  was  rain,  cows  which  the 
demon  Vritra  used  to  steal  and  hide  away,  thus  causing 
drought  and  suffering.  Indra  brought  death  to  this 
demon  with  a  lightning  bolt ;  for  this  deed  he  received 
the  name  Vritrahan  (slayer  of  Vritra).  The  cows  were 
freed  then  from  confinement ;  and  the  world  was  refreshed 
by  their  milk,  which  came  to  all,  rich  and  poor,  in  like 
manner.  So  far  the  main  characters  of  the  tale  are  quite 
recognizable.  Cian  and  Cormac  are  simply  names  cur- 
rent in  Irish  history,  and  are  substituted  for  names 
of  original  heroes,  who  were  characters  as  far  from  human 
and  as  mythologic  as  King  Under  the  Wave  or  Glas 

A  comparison  of  Gaelic  tales  with  the  Indian  tales  of 
America  shows  that  the  Gaelic  contain  materials  some  of     \ 
which  is  as  ancient  as  the  Indian,  while  the  tales  them- 
selves are  less  primitive. 

There  are  many  Indian  tales  which  we  can  analyze, 
genuine  myths,  —a  myth,  in  its  earliest  form,  being  a  tale 

xlvi  Introduction. 

the  substance  of  which  is  an  account  of  some  process  m 
nature,  or  some  collision  between  forces  in  nature,  the 
whole  account  being  given  as  a  narrative  of  personal 

Among  the  Irish  tales  there  are  very  few  ancient  myths 
pure  and  simple,  though  there  are  many  made  up  of  myth 
materials  altogether.  The  tale  of  Mor,  reconstructed 
from  fragments,  is  a  myth  from  beginning  to  end  ;  the 
history  of  a  cloud  in  the  guise  of  a  woman,  as  Glas  Gai- 
nach  is  the  history  of  a  cloud  in  the  guise  of  a  cow. 

Tales  like  Glas  Gainach  and  Mor  are  not  frequent  in 
Gaelic  at  present ;  but  tales  of  modified  structure,  com- 
posite tales  to  which  something  has  been  added,  and  from 
which  something  has  been  taken  away,  are  met  with 
oftener  than  any.  The  elements  added  or  taken  away 
are  not  modern,  however ;  they  are,  if  we  except  certain 
heroes,  quite  ancient. 

In  course  of  time,  and  through  change  of  religion, 
ancient  heroes  were  forgotten  in  some  cases,  rejected 
in  others,  and  new  ones  substituted  ;  when  the  argument 
of  a  tale,  or  part  of  it,  grew  less  distinct,  it  was  strength- 
ened from  the  general  stock,  made  more  complete  and 
vivid.  In  this  way  came  adventure  tales,  constnrctecj 
of  materials  purely  mythic  and  ancient.  Parts  werq 
transferred  from  one  tale  to  another,  the  same  incidents 
and  heroes  being  found  in  tales  quite  different  in  oth< 

The  results  to  be  obtained  from  a  comparison  of  sy£- 
tems  of  thought  like  the  Indian  and  the  Gaelic  wouM 

Introduction.  xlvii 

be  great,  if  made  thoroughly.  If  extended  to  all  races, 
such  a  comparison  would  render  possible  a  history  of  the 
human  mind  in  a  form  such  as  few  men  at  present  even 
dream  of,  —  a  history  with  a  basis  as  firm  as  that  which 
lies  under  geology.  If  this  work  is  to  be  accomplished, 
we  must  make  large  additions  indeed  to  our  knowledge 
of  primitive  peoples.  We  must  complete  the  work  begun 
in  America.  We  must  collect  the  great  tales  of  Africa, 
Asia,  and  the  islands  of  the  Pacific,  —  tales  which  em- 
body the  philosophy  of  the  races  that  made  them.  The 
undertaking  is  arduous,  and  there  is  need  to  engage  in  it 
promptly.  The  forces  of  civilized  society,  at  present,  are 
destroying  on  all  sides,  not  saving  that  which  is  precious 
in  primitive  people.  Civilized  society  supposes  that  man, 
in  an  early  degree  of  development,  should  be  stripped 
of  all  that  he  owns,  both  material  and  mental,  and  then 
be  refashioned  to  serve  the  society  that  stripped  him. 
If  he  will  not  yield  to  the  stripping  and  training,  then 
slay  him.  • 

In  view  of  this  state  of  things,  there  is  no  time  for 
delay ;  primitive  man  is  changing,  and  the  work  is 

Of  Chinese  thought  we  know  very  little,  especially  of 
Taoism,  the  most  ancient  system  of  the  country, —the 
one  which  has  grown  up  from  Chinese  myth-tales.  Of 
African  tales,  only  few  have  been  collected,  and  those 
of  small  value  mainly. 

In  Asia  and  Eastern  Europe,  the  Russians  have  done 
the  best  work  by  far  ;  besides  many  good  volumes  of  Slav 

xlviii  Introduction. 

tales,  they  have  given  us  much  from  the  Tartars  and 
Mongols  of  exceptional  value  and  ancient.  In  the 
United  States,  little  was  accomplished  till  recent  years  ; 
of  late,  however,  public  interest  has  been  roused  some- 
what, and,  since  Major  Powell  entered  the  field,  and 
became  Director  of  the  Bureau  of  Ethnology,  more  has 
been  done  in  studying  the  native  races  of  America  than 
had  been  done  from  the  discovery  of  the  country  up  to 
that  time. 

To  sum  up,  we  may  say,  that  the  Indian  tales  reveal 
to  us  a  whole  system  of  religion,  philosophy,  and  social 
polity.  They  take  us  back  to  the  beginning  of  things  ;  they 
describe  Creation  and  the  establishment  of  the  present 
order  in  the  world. 

Those  tales  form  a  complete  series.  The  whole  mental 
and  social  life  of  the  race  to  which  they  belong  is  evident 
in  them.  The  Gaelic  tales  are  a  fragment  of  a  former 
system.  The  earliest  tales  in  that  system  are  lost ;  those 
which  formed  the  Creation  myth,  and  related  directly  to 
the  ancient  faith  and  religious  practices  of  the  Gaels,  were 
set  aside  and  prohibited  at  the  introduction  of  Chris- 
tianity. In  many  of  those  that  remained,  leading  heroes 
were  changed  by  design,  or  forgotten,  and  others  put  in 
their  places.  In  general,  they  were  modified  consciously 
and  unconsciously,  —  some  greatly,  others  to  a  less  degree, 
and  a  few  very  little. 

We  find  various  resemblances  in  the  two  systems,  some 
of  which  are  very  striking  in  details,  and  others  in 
general  features  ;  the  question,  therefore,  rises  readily 

Introduction.  xlix 

enough  :  Can  we  not  use  the  complete  system  to  aid  us 
in  explaining  and  reconstructing,  in  some  degree,  the 
imperfect  one  ?  We  can  undoubtedly  ;  and  if  to  materials 
preserved  by  oral  tradition,  like  those  in  this  volume,  be 
added  manuscript  tales,  and  those  scattered  through 
chronicles  ecclesiastical  and  secular,  we  may  hope  to  give 
some  idea  of  what  the  ancient  system  of  Gaelic  thought 
was,  and  discover  whether  the  Gaelic  gods  had  a  similar 
origin  with  the  Indian.  What  is  true  of  the  Gaelic  is  true 
also  of  other  ancient  systems  in  Europe,  such  as  the  Slav 
and  Teutonic.  These  have  much  less  literary  material 
than  the  Gaelic  ;  but  the  Slav  has  vastly  greater  stores  of 
oral  tradition,  and  tales  which  contain  much  precious 
thought  from  pre-Christian  ages. 

During  eight  years  of  investigation  among  Indian  tribes 
in  North  America,  I  obtained  the  various  parts  of  that  Crea- 
tion myth  mentioned  in  this  introduction,  from  tribes  that 
were  remote  from  one  another,  and  in  different  degrees  of 
development.  Such  tales  I  found  in  the  east,  in  the  cen- 
tral regions,  and  finally  in  California  and  Oregon.  Over 
this  space,  the  extreme  points  of  which  are  three  thousand 
miles  apart,  each  tribe  has  the  Creation  myth,  —  one  portion 
being  brought  out  with  special  emphasis  in  one  tribe,  and 
another  portion  in  a  different  one.  In  tribes  least  devel- 
oped, the  earliest  tales  are  very  distinct,  and  specially  valu- 
able on  some  points  relating  to  the  origin  and  fall  of  the 
gods.  Materials  from  the  extreme  west  are  more  archaic 
and  simple  than  those  of  the  east.  In  fact  the  two  regions 
present  the  two  extremes,  in  North  America,  of  least 


1  Introduction. 

developed  and  most  developed  aboriginal  thought.  In 
this  is  their  interest.  They  form  one  complete  system,  a 
single  conception  richly  illustrated. 

Shall  we  find  among  tribes  of  Africa,  Australia,  and  the 
Pacific  Islands,  tales  which  are  component  parts  of 
great  Creation  myths  like  that  of  North  America  ?  We 
shall  find  them  no  doubt,  if  we  spend  time  and  skilled 
labor  sufficient. 

The  discovery  and  collection  of  these  materials,  and  the 
proper  use  of  them  afterward,  constitute,  for  scientific  zeal 
and  activity,  a  task  as  important  as  self-knowledge  is 
important  to  man. 

In  1887, 1  made  a  journey  to  Ireland  ;  when  I  collected 
tales  from  which  were  selected  the  twenty  forming  the 
"  Myths  and  Folk-lore  of  Ireland,"  Boston,  Little,  Brown, 
and  Company,  1889.  While  in  Ireland,  during  that  first 
visit,  and  this  one,  I  have  met  with  much  good  will  and 
kindness  which  are  pleasant  to  remember. 

I  must  mention,  to  begin  with,  my  indebtedness  to 
Rev.  P.  A.  Walsh,  of  the  St.  Vincent  Fathers.  Cork,  a 
widely  known  Gaelic  scholar,  and  a  man  whose  acquain- 
tance with  the  South  of  Ireland  is  extensive  and  intimate. 
Father  Walsh  gave  me  much  information  concerning  the 
people,  and  letters  to  priests.  I  am  greatly  obliged  to 
J.  J.  MacSweeny,  Esq.,  of  the  Royal  Irish  Academy,  for 
help  in  many  ways,  and  for  letters  to  people  in  Donegal. 
To  Rev.  Eugene  O'Growney,  Professor  of  Gaelic  at  May- 
nooth,  I  am  grateful  for  letters  and  advice. 

Introduction.  \{ 

If  I  were  to  mention  all  who  have  done  me  deeds  of 
kindness,  the  list  would  be  long  indeed.  I  must  name, 
however,  in  Dingle,  the  venerable  Canon  O'Sullivan  and 
Father  Scollard,  in  Bally  Ferriter,  Rev.  John  O'Leary. 
To  Mr.  Patrick  Ferriter,  of  Dingle,  a  man  of  keen  intelli- 
gence and  an  excellent  Gaelic  scholar,  I  am  deeply 
indebted  for  assistance  in  Gaelic.  Canon  Brosnan,  of 
Cahirciveen,  placed  all  his  knowledge  of  the  region  where 
he  lives  at  my  service,  and  on  one  occasion  led  in  an 
unwilling  story-teller.  Father  MacDevitt,  of  Carrick, 
County  Donegal,  assisted  me  much  in  his  neighborhood. 
Rev.  James  MacFadden,  of  Glena,  County  Donegal,  and 
his  curate,  Rev.  John  Boyle,  of  Falcarra,  helped  me 
effectively,  and  showed  the  most  courteous  hospitality. 
I  should  return  special  thanks  to  Prof.  Brian  O'Looney, 
of  Dublin,  whose  knowledge  of  ancient  Gaelic  lore  is  un- 
matched, and  who  at  all  times  was  as  willing  as  he  was 
able  to  aid  me. 

In  America,  the  list  of  my  obligations  is  short ;  there  is 
only  one  man  on  that  continent  to  whom  thanks  are  due 
in  connection  with  this  volume,  but  that  man,  like  the 
hero  in  Gaelic  tales,  was  worth  more  than  the  thousands 
on  all  four  sides  of  him.  The  contents  of  this  book 
would  not  have  been  collected  without  the  co-operation  of 
Hon.  Charles  A.  Dana,  who  published  fifty  of  these  Gaelic 
tales  in  the  Sunday  edition  of  "The  Sun."  At  that  time 
no  other  editor  was  willing  to  join  in  the  enterprise  ;  and  I 
did  not  feel  able  to  endure  both  the  financial  burden  and 
the  labor  of  finding  and  collecting  Gaelic  tales,  as  I  had 

Hi  Introduction. 

done  in  1887.  Mr.  Dana,  with  his  keen  eye  for  literary 
character,  noted  at  once  in  the  "  Myths  and  Folk-lore  " 
the  originality  of  Gaelic  tales  and  their  heroes.  When 
I  told  him  that  relics  like  the  Cuculin  and  Gilla  na 
Grakin  of  my  first  book  were  on  the  verge  of  extinction, 
he  joined  hands  with  me  to  save  them,  and  I  set  out  on 
my  second  journey  to  Ireland. 


LONDON,  ENGLAND,  August,  1894. 





ONCE  King  Under  the  Wave  went  on  a  visit 
to  the  King  of  Spain,  for  the  two  were 
great  friends.  The  King  of  Spain  was  com- 
plaining, and  very  sorry  that  he  had  not  butter 
enough.  He  had  a  great  herd  of  cows;  but  for 
all  that,  he  had  not  what  butter  he  wanted.  He 
said  that  he  'd  be  the  richest  man  in  the  world 
if  he  had  butter  in  plenty  for  himself  and  his 

"Do  not  trouble  your  mind,"  said  King  Under 
the  Wave.  "  I  will  give  you  Glas  Gainach,  —  a 
cow  that  is  better  than  a  thousand  cows,  and  her 
milk  is  nearly  all  butter." 

The  King  of  Spain  thanked  his  guest  for  the 
promise,  and  was  very  glad.  King  Under  the 
Wave  kept  his  word;  he  sent  Glas  Gainach,  and 

Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

a  messenger  with  instructions  how  to  care  for 
the  cow,  and  said  that  if  she  was  angered  in  any 
way  she  would  not  stay  out  at  pasture.  So  the 
king  took  great  care  of  her;  and  the  report  went 
through  all  nations  that  the  Kin^  of  Spain  had 
the  cow  called  Glas  Gainach. 

The  King  of  Spain  had  an  only  daughter,  and 
he  was  to  give  the  cow  with  the  daughter;  and 
the  cow  was  a  great  fortune,  the  best  dower  in 
the  world  at  that  time.  The  king  said  that  the 
man  who  would  do  what  he  put  on  him  would  get 
the  daughter  and  the  cow. 

Champions  came  from  every  part  of  the  world, 
each  man  to  try  his  fortune.  In  a  short  time 
hundreds  and  thousands  of  men  lost  their  heads 
in  combat.  The  king  agreed  then  that  any  man 
who  would  serve  seven  years,  and  bring  the  cow 
safe  and  sound  every  day  of  that  time  to  the 
castle,  would  have  her. 

In  minding  the  cow,  the  man  had  to  follow  her 
always,  never  go  before  her,  or  stop  her,  or  hold 
her.  If  he  did,  she  would  run  home  to  the  castle. 
The  man  must  stop  with  her  when  she  wanted  to 
get  a  bite  or  a  drink-  She  never  travelled  less 
than  sixty  miles  a  day,  eating  a  good  bite  here 
and  a  good  bite  there,  and  going  hither  and 

The    King  of    Spain   never  told   men    how  to 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.      3 

mind  the  cow;  he  wanted  them  to  lose  their 
heads,  for  then  he  got  their  work  without  wages. 

One  man  would  mind  her  for  a  day;  another 
would  follow  her  to  the  castle  for  two  days;  a 
third  might  go  with  her  for  a  week,  and  some- 
times a  man  could  not  come  home  with  her  the 
first  day.  The  man  should  be  loose  and  swift 
to  keep  up  with  Glas  Gainach.  The  day  she 
walked  least  she  walked  sixty  miles ;  some  days 
she  walked  much  more. 

It  was  known  in  Erin  that  there  was  such  a 
cow,  and  there  was  a  smith  in  Cluainte  above 
here,  three  miles  north  of  Fintra,  and  his  name 
was  Elin  Gow.  He  was  the  best  man  in  Erin  to 
make  a  sword  or  any  weapon  of  combat.  From 
all  parts  of  Erin,  and  from  other  lands  also, 
young  princes  who  were  going  to  seek  their  for- 
tunes came  to  him  to  have  him  make  swords  for 
them.  Now  what  should  happen  but  this?  It 
came  to  him  in  a  dream  three  nights  in  succes- 
sion that  he  was  to  go  for  Glas  Gainach,  the 
wonderful  cow.  At  last  he  said,  "  I  will  go  and 
knock  a  trial  out  of  her;  I  will  go  toward  her." 

He  went  to  Tramor,  where  there  were  some 
vessels.  It  was  to  the  King  of  Munster  that 
he  went,  and  asked  would  he  lend  him  a  vessel. 
Elin  Gow  had  made  many  swords  for  the  king. 
The  king  said  that  he  would  lend  the  vessel  with 

Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

willingness,  and  that  if  he  could  do  more  for  him 
he  would  do  it.  Elin  Gow  got  the  vessel,  and 
put  stores  in  it  for  a  day  and  a  year.  He  turned 
its  prow  then  to  sea  and  its  stern  to  land,  and 
was  ploughing  the  main  ocean  till  he  steered 
into  the  kingdom  of  Spain  as  well  as  if  he  had 
had  three  pilots,  and  there  was  no  one  but  him- 
self in  it.  He  let  the  wind  guide  the  ship,  and 
she  came  into  the  very  harbor  of  the  province 
where  the  king's  castle  was. 

When  Elin  Gow  came  in,  he  cast  two  anchors 
at  the  ocean  side  and  one  at  the  shore  side,  and 
settled  the  ship  in  such  a  way  that  there  was  not 
a  wave  to  strike  her,  nor  a  wind  to  rock  her,  nor 
a  crow  to  drop  on  her;  and  he  left  her  so  that 
nothing  would  disturb  her,  and  a  fine,  smooth 
strand  before  her  :  he  left  her  fixed  for  a  day  and 
a  year,  though  he  might  not  be  absent  an  hour. 

He  left  the  vessel  about  midday,  and  went  his 
way  walking,  not  knowing  where  was  he  or  in 
what  kingdom.  He  met  no  man  or  beast  in  the 
place.  Late  in  the  evening  he  saw,  on  a  broad 
green  field  at  a  distance,  a  beautiful  castle,  the 
grandest  he  had  ever  set  eyes  on. 

When  he  drew  near  the  castle,  the  first  house 
he  found  was  a  cottage  at  the  wayside ;  and  when 
he  was  passing,  who  should  see  him  but  a  very 
old  man  inside  in  the  cottage.  The  old  man 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.     5 

rose  up,  and  putting  his  two  hands  on  the  jambs 
of  the  door,  reached  out  his  head  and  hailed  him. 
Elin  Gow  turned  on  his  heel;  then  the  old  man 
beckoned  to  him  to  enter. 

There  were  four  men  in  front  of  the  castle, 
champions  of  valor,  practising  feats  of  arms. 
Flashes  of  light  came  from  their  swords.  These 
men  were  so  trained  that  they  would  not  let  a 
sword-stroke  touch  any  part  of  their  bodies. 

"Come  in,"  said  the  old  man;  "  maybe  you 
would  like  to  have  dinner.  You  have  eaten 
nothing  on  the  way." 

"That  was  a  mistake  of  my  own,"  said  Elin 
Gow;  "for  in  my  ship  are  provisions  of  all  kinds 
in  plenty." 

"Never  mind,"  said  the  old  man;  "you  will 
not  need  them  in  this  place;"  and  going  to  a 
chest,  he  took  out  a  cloth  which  he  spread  on  a 
table,  and  that  moment  there  came  on  it  food  for 
a  king  or  a  champion.  Elin  Gow  had  never 
seen  a  better  dinner  in  Erin. 

"  What  is  your  name  and  from  what  place  are 
you?"  asked  the  old  man  of  his  guest. 

"From  Erin,"  said  he,  "and  my  name  is  Elin 
Gow.  What  country  is  this,  and  what  castle  is 
that  out  before  us?  " 

"  Have  you  ever  heard  talk  of  the  kingdom  of 
Spain  ?  "  asked  the  old  man. 

Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  I  have,  and  't  is  to  find  it  that  I  left  home." 

"Well,  this  is  the  kingdom  of  Spain,  and  that 
building  beyond  is  the  castle  of  the  king/' 

"  And  is  it  here  that  Glas  Gainach  is  ? " 

"It  is,"  said  the  old  man.  "And  is  it  for  her 
that  you  left  Erin?  " 

"It  is  then,"  said  Elin  Gow. 

"I  pity  you,"  said  the  old  man;  "it  would  be 
fitter  for  you  to  stop  at  home  and  mind  some- 
thing else  than  to  come  hither  for  that  cow. 
'T  is  not  hundreds  but  thousands  of  men  that 
have  lost  their  heads  for  her,  and  I  am  in  dread 
that  you  '11  meet  the  same  luck." 

"Well,  I  will  try  my  fortune,"  said  Elin  Gow. 
"  'T  is  through  dreams  that  I  came." 

"I  pity  you,"  said  the  old  man,  "and  more- 
over because  you  are  from  Erin.  I  am  half  of 
your  country,  for  my  mother  was  from  Erin.  Do 
you  know  now  how  this  cow  will  be  got?  " 

"I  do  not,"  said  Elin  Gow;  "I  know  nothing 
in  the  world  about  it." 

"You  will  not  be  long,"  said  the  old  man, 
"without  knowledge.  I  '11  tell  you  about  her, 
and  what  conditions  will  be  put  on  you  by  the 
king.  He  will  bind  you  for  the  term  of  seven 
years  to  bring  the  cow  home  safe  and  sound  to 
his  castle  every  evening.  If  you  fail  to  bring 
her,  your  head  will  be  cut  off  that  same  evening. 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.     7 

That  is  one  way  by  which  many  kings'  sons  and 
champions  that  came  from  every  part  of  the 
world  were  destroyed.  There  are  spikes  all 
around  behind  the  castle,  and  a  head  on  each 
spike  of  them.  You  will  see  for  yourself  to- 
morrow when  you  go  to  the  castle,  and  a  dread- 
ful sight  it  is,  for  you  will  not  be  able  to  count 
the  heads  that  are  there  on  the  spikes.  I  will 
give  you  now  an  advice  that  I  have  never  given 
any  man  before  this,  but  I  have  heard  of  you 
from  my  mother.  You  would  be  a  loss  to  the 
country  you  came  from.  You  are  a  great  man 
to  make  swords  and  all  kinds  of  weapons  for 

"  The  king  will  not  tell  you  what  to  do,  but  I  '11 
tell  you:  you  '11  be  as  swift  as  you  can  when  you 
go  with  the  cow;  keep  up  with  her  always.  The 
day  she  moves  least  she  will  travel  thirty  miles 
going  and  thirty  miles  coming,  and  you  will  have 
rest  only  while  she'll  be  feeding,  and  she  will 
take  only  a  few  minutes  here  and  a  few  minutes 
there;  wherever  she  sees  the  best  place  she'll 
take  a  bite ;  and  do  not  disturb  her  wherever  she 
turns  or  walks,  and  do  not  go  before  her  01  drive 
her.  If  you  do  what  I  say,  there  will  be  no  fear 
of  you,  if  you  can  be  so  swift  as  to  keep  up  with 
the  cow." 

"  I  am  not  in  dread  of  falling  back,"  said  Elin 


8  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Then  there  will  be  no  fear  of  you  at  all,"  said 
the  old  man. 

Elin  Gow  remained  in  the  cottage  that  night. 
In  the  morning  the  old  man  spread  his  cloth  on 
the  table;  food  and  drink  for  a  king  or  a  cham- 
pion were  on  it  that  moment.  Eliri  Gow  ate  and 
drank  heartily,  left  good  health  with  the  old 
man,  and  went  to  the  castle.  The  king  had  a 
man  called  the  Tongue-speaker,  who  met  and 
announced  every  stranger.  "Who  are  you  or 
why  do  you  come  to  the  castle? "  asked  this  man 
of  Elin  Gow. 

"  I  wish  to  speak  to  the  king  about  Glas 

"  Oh,"  said  the  speaker,  "you  are  badly  wanted, 
for  it  is  three  days  since  the  last  man  that  was 
after  her  lost  his  head.  Come,  and  I  will  show 
it  to  you  on  the  spike,  and  I  am  in  dread  your 
own  head  will  be  in  a  like  place." 

"Never  mind,"  said  Elin  Gow;  "misfortune 
cannot  be  avoided.  We  will  do  our  best." 

The  Tongue-speaker  went  to  the  king  then,  and 
said,  "There  is  a  man  outside  who  has  come  for 
Glas  Gainach. " 

The  king  went  out,  and  asked  Elin  Gow  what 
he  wanted  or  what  brought  him.  He  told  him, 
as  he  told  the  speaker,  that  it  was  for  the  cow  he 
had  come. 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.      9 

"And  is  it  in  combat  or  in  peace  that  you  want 
to  get  her?" 

"'Tis  in  peace,"  said  Elin  Gow. 

"  You  can  try  with  swords  or  with  herding, 
whichever  you  wish." 

"We  will  choose  the  herding,"  said  Elin  Gow. 

"Well,"  said  the  king,  "this  is  how  we  will 
bind  ourselves.  You  are  to  bring  Glas  Gainach 
here  to  me  every  evening  safe  and  sound  during 
seven  years,  and,  if  you  fail,  't  is  your  head  that 
you  will  lose.  Do  you  see  those  heads  on  the 
spikes  there  behind?  'Tis  on  account  of  Glas 
Gainach  they  are  there.  If  you  come  home  with 
the  cow  every  night,  she  will  be  yours  when  seven 
years  are  spent,  — I  bind  myself  to  that,"  said 
the  king. 

"Well,"  said  Elin  Gow,  "I  am  satisfied  with 
the  conditions." 

Next  morning  Glas  Gainach  was  let  out,  and 
both  went  together  all  day,  she  and  Elin  Gow. 
She  went  so  swiftly  that  he  threw  his  cap  from 
him;  he  could  not  carry  it  half  the  day.  All  the 
rest  he  had  was  while  she  was  feeding  in  any 
place.  He  was  after  her  then  till  she  came 
home,  and  he  brought  her  back  as  safe  and  sound 
as  in  the  morning.  The  king  came  out  and  wel- 
comed him,  saying,  "You  've  taken  good  care  of 
her;  many  a  man  went  after  her  that  did  not 
bring  her  home  the  first  day." 

io  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Life  is  sweet,"  said  Elin  Gow;  "I  did  the 
best  hand  I  could.  I  know  what  I  have  to  get 
if  I  fail  to  bring  her." 

The  king  gave  Elin  Gow  good  food  and  drink, 
so  that  he  was  more  improving  than  failing  in 
strength,  and  made  his  way  and  brought  the  cow 
every  day  till  he  had  the  seven  years  spent ;  then 
he  said  to  the  king,  "My  time  is  up;  will  I  get 
the  cow?" 

"Oh,  why  not?"  said  the  king.  "You  will: 
you  have  earned  her  well ;  you  have  done  more 
than  any  man  who  walked  the  way  before.  See 
now  how  many  have  lost  their  heads;  count 
them.  You  are  better  than  any  of  them.  I 
would  not  deny  or  break  my  word  or  agreement. 
You  were  bound  to  bring  her,  and  I  am  bound  to 
give  her.  Now  she  is  yours  and  not  mine,  but 
if  she  comes  back  here  again,  don't  have  any  eye 
after  her;  you  '11  not  get  her." 

"That  will  do,"  said  Elin  Gow.  "I  will  take 
good  care  not  to  let  her  come  to  you.  I  minded 
her  the  last  seven  years. " 

"Well,"  said  the  king,  "I  don't  doubt  you." 

They  gave  the  cow  food  that  morning  inside; 
did  not  let  her  out  at  all.  Elin  Gow  bound  the 
cow  in  every  way  he  wished,  to  bring  her  to  the 
vessel.  He  used  all  his  strength,  raised  the  two 
anchors  on  the  ocean  side,  pulled  in  the  vessel 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.     1 1 

to  put  the  cow  on  board.  When  Elin  Gow  was 
on  board,  he  turned  the  stem  of  the  ship  toward 
the  sea,  and  the  stern  toward  land.  He  was  sail- 
ing across  the  wide  ocean  till  he  came  to  Tramor, 
the  port  in  Erin  from  which  he  had  started  when 
going  to  Spain.  Elin  Gow  brought  Glas  Gainach 
on  shore,  took  her  to  Cluainte,  and  was  minding 
her  as  carefully  as  when  he  was  with  the  King 
of  Spain. 

Elin  Gow  was  the  best  man  in  Erin  to  make 
swords  and  all  weapons  for  champions;  his  name 
was  in  all  lands.  The  King  of  Munster  had  four 
sons,  and  the  third  from  the  oldest  was  Cian.  He 
was  neither  dreaming  nor  thinking  of  anything 
night  or  day  but  feats  of  valor;  his  grandfather, 
Art  Mac  Cuin,  had  been  a  great  champion,  and 
was  very  fond  of  Cian.  He  used  to  say,  "  Kind 
father  and  grandfather  for  him;  he  is  not  like 
his  three  brothers." 

When  twenty  years  old,  Cian  said,  "  I  will  go 
to  try  my  fortune.  My  father  has  heirs  enough. 
I  would  try  other  kingdoms  if  I  had  a  sword." 

"You  may  have  my  sword,"  said  the  father. 

Cian  gave  the  sword  a  trial,  and  at  the  first 
turn  he  broke  it.  "No  sword  will  please  me," 
said  Cian,  "  unless,  while  grasping  the  hilt  with 
the  blade  pointed  forward,  I  can  bend  the  blade 
till  its  point  touches  my  elbow  on  the  upper 

12  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

side,  then  let  it  spring  back  and  bend  it  again 
till  the  point  touches  my  elbow  on  the  under 

"There  is  not  a  man  in  Erin  who  could  make 
a  sword  like  that,"  said  the  father,  "but  Elin 
Gow,  and  I  am  full  sure  that  he  will  not  make  it 
at  this  time,  for  he  is  minding  Glas  Gainach. 
He  earned  her  well,  and  he  will  guard  her;  seven 
years  did  he  travel  bareheaded  without  hat  or 
cap,  —  a  thing  which  no  man  could  do  before 
him.  It  would  be  useless  to  go  to  him,  for  he  has 
never  worked  a  stroke  in  the  forge  since  he 
brought  Glas  Gainach  to  Erin,  and  he  would  not 
let  her  go.  He  would  make  the  sword  but  for 
that.  It's  many  a  sword  he  made  for  me." 

"  Well,  I  will  try  him,"  said  Cian.  "I  will  ask 
him  to  make  the  sword." 

Cian  started,  and  never  stopped  till  he  stood 
before  Elin  Gow  at  Cluainte,  and  told  him  who 
he  was. 

Elin  Gow  welcomed  the  son  of  the  king,  and 
said,  "Your  father  and  I  were  good  friends  in 
our  young  years.  It  was  often  I  made  swords 
and  other  weapons  for  him.  And  what  is  it  that 
brought  you  to-day? " 

"  It  is  a  sword  I  want.  I  wish  to  go  and  seek 
my  fortune  in  some  foreign  land.  I  want  a  good 
sword,  and  my  father  says  you  are  the  best  man 
in  Erin  to  make  one." 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    1 3 

"I  was/'  said  Elin  Gow;  "and  I  am  sorry 
that  I  cannot  make  you  one  now.  I  am  engaged 
in  minding  Glas  Gainach;  and  I  would  not  trust 
any  one  after  her  but  myself,  and  I  have  enough 
to  do  to  mind  her." 

Cian  told  how  the  sword  was  to  be  made. 

"Oh,"  said  Elin  Gow,  "I  would  make  it  in 
any  way  you  like  but  for  the  cow,  and  I  would 
not  wish  to  let  your  father's  son  go  away  with- 
out a  sword.  I  will  direct  you  to  five  or  six 
smiths  that  are  making  swords  now,  in  place  of 
me  since  I  went  for  Glas  Gainach." 

He  gave  the  names,  and  the  king's  son  went 

None  of  them  could  make  the  sword  in  the 
way  Cian  wanted.  He  came  back  to  Elin  Gow. 

"You  have  your  round  made?"  said  Elin 

"I  have,"  said  Cian,  "but  in  vain;  for  none 
of  them  would  make  the  sword  in  the  way  asked 
of  him." 

"Well,  I  do  not  wish  to  let  you  go.  I  will 
take  the  risk." 

"Very  well,"  said  Cian;  "I  will  go  after  Glas 
Gainach  to-morrow,  while  you  are  making  the 
sword,  and  if  I  don't  bring  her,  you  may  have 
my  head  in  the  evening." 

"Well,"  said  Elin  Gow,  "I  am  afraid  to  trust 

14  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

you,  for  many  a  champion  lost  his  head  on  ac- 
count of  her  before;  but  I'll  run  the  risk.  I 
must  make  the  sword  for  you." 

The  king's  son  stopped  that  night  with  Elin 
Gow,  who  gave  him  the  best  food  and  drink  he 
had,  and  let  out  Glas  Gainach  before  him  next 
morning,  and  told  him  not  to  come  in  front  of  her 
in  any  place  where  she  might  want  to  feed  or 
drink.  He  advised  him  in  every  way  how  to 
take  care  of  her.  Away  went  Cian  with  the  cow, 
and  he  was  doing  the  right  thing  all  day.  She 
moved  on  always,  and  went  as  far  as  Caorha, 
southwest  of  Tralee,  the  best  spot  of  land  in 
Kerry  for  grass.  When  she  had  eaten  enough, 
she  turned  toward  home,  and  Cian  was  at  her  tail 
all  the  day.  When  he  and  Glas  Gainach  were 
five  miles  this  side  of  Tralee,  near  the  water  at 
Derrymor,  where  she  used  to  drink,  Cian  saw 
her  going  close  to  deep  water;  he  came  before 
her,  and  turned  her  back;  and  what  did  she  do 
but  jump  through  the  air  like  a  bird,  and  then 
she  went  out  through  the  sea  and  left  him.  He 
walked  home  sad  and  mournful,  and  came  to  Elin 
Gow's  house.  The  smith  asked  him  had  he  the 
cow,  and  he  said,  "  I  have  not.  I  was  doing 
well  till  I  came  to  Derrymor,  and  she  went  so 
near  deep  water  that  I  was  afraid  she  would  go 
from  me.  I  stopped  her,  and  what  did  she  do 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    1 5 

but  fly  away  like  a  bird,  and  go  out  through  the 

"God  help  us,"  said  Elin  Gow,  "but  the  mis- 
fortune cannot  be  helped." 

"I  am  the  cause,"  said  Cian;  "you  may  have 
my  head." 

"What  is  done,  is  done.  I  would  never  take 
the  head  off  you,  but  she  is  a  great  loss  to  me." 

"  I  am  willing  and  satisfied  to  give  you  my 
head,"  said  Cian.  "Have  you  the  sword  made?  " 

"I  have,"  said  Elin  Gow. 

Cian  took  the  blade,  tested  it  in  every  way,  and 
found  that  he  had  the  sword  he  wanted. 

He  swore  an  oath  then  to  Elin  Gow  that  he 
would  not  delay  day  or  night,  nor  rest  anywhere, 
till  he  had  lost  his  head  or  brought  back  Glas 

"I  am  afraid  your  labor  will  be  useless,"  said 
Elin  Gow,  "and  that  you  will  never  be  able  to 
bring  her  back.  I  could  not  have  brought  her 
myself  but  for  the  advice  of  an  old  man  that  I 
met  before  I  saw  the  King  of  Spain." 

Cian  went  home  to  his  father's  castle.  The 
king  saw  him  coming  with  the  sword.  "I  see 
that  Elin  Gow  did  not  refuse  you." 

"He  did  not,"  said  Cian.  "He  made  the 
sword,  and  it  is  a  sore  piece  of  work  for  him. 
He  has  parted  with  Glas  Gainach.  I  promised 

1 6  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

to  give  my  head  if  I  did  not  bring  her  home  to 
him  in  safety  while  he  was  making  the  sword. 
I  minded  her  well  all  day  till  she  came  to  a  place 
where  she  used  to  drink  water.  I  did  not  know 
that;  but  it  was  my  duty  to  know  it,  for  he 
directed  me  in  every  way  needful  how  to  mind 
her.  I  was  bringing  her  home  in  safety  till  I 
brought  her  to  Derrymor  River;  and  I  went  be- 
fore her  to  turn  her  back,  — and  that  was  foolish, 
for  he  told  me  not  to  turn  her  while  I  was  with 
her,  —  and  she  did  nothing  but  spring  like  a  bird 
and  out  to  sea  and  away.  I  promised  Elin  Gow 
in  the  morning  if  I  did  not  bring  the  cow  to  give 
him  my  head;  and  I  offered  it  when  I  came,  as  I 
had  not  the  cow,  but  he  said,  'I  will  never  take 
the  head  off  a  son  of  your  father,  even  for  a 
greater  loss.'  And  for  this  reason  I  will  never 
rest  nor  delay  till  I  go  for  Glas  Gainach  and 
bring  her  back  to  Elin  Gow,  or  lose  my  head;  so 
make  ready  your  best  ship." 

"The  best  ship,"  said  the  king,  "is  the  one 
that  Elin  Gow  took." 

The  king's  son  put  provisions  for  a  day  and  a 
year  in  the  vessel.  He  set  sail  alone  and  away 
with  him  through  the  main  ocean,  and  he  never 
stopped  till  he  reached  the  same  place  to  which 
Elin  Gow  had  sailed  before.  He  cast  two 
anchors  on  the  ocean  side,  and  one  next  the 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    1 7 

shore,  and  left  the  ship  where  there  was  no  wind 
to  blow  on  her,  no  waves  of  the  ocean  to  touch 
her,  no  crows  of  the  air  to  drop  on  her.  He 
went  his  way  then,  and  was  walking  always  till 
evening,  when  he  saw  at  a  distance  the  finest 
castle  he  had  ever  set  eyes  on.  He  went  toward 
it;  and  when  he  was  near,  he  saw  four  champions 
at  exercise  near  the  castle.  He  was  going  on 
the  very  same  road  that  Elin  Gow  had  taken, 
and  was  passing  the  same  cottage,  when  the  old 
man  saw  him  and  hailed  him.  He  turned  toward 
the  cottage. 

"Come  to  my  house  and  rest,"  said  the  old 
man.  "From  what  country  are  you,  and  what 
brought  you?  " 

"  I  am  a  son  of  the  King  of  Munster  in  Erin; 
and  now  will  you  tell  me  what  place  is 

"  You  are  in  Spain,  and  the  building  beyond 
there  is  the  king's  castle." 

"Very  well  and  good.  It  was  to  see  the  king 
that  I  left  Erin,"  said  Cian. 

"  It  is  for  Glas  Gainach  that  you  are  here,  I  sup- 
pose, "  said  the  old  man.  ' '  It  is  useless  for  you  to 
try;  you  never  can  bring  her  from  the  king.  It 
was  a  hundred  times  easier  when  Elin  Gow 
brought  her ;  it  is  not  that  way  now,  but  by  force 
and  bravery  she  is  to  be  taken.  It  is  a  pity  to 

1 8  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

have  you  lose  your  head,  like  so  many  kings  and 

"I  must  try,"  said  Cian;  "for  it  was  through 
me  that  Elin  Gow  lost  Glas  Gainach.  I  wanted 
a  sword  to  try  my  fortune,  and  there  was  not  a 
smith  in  Erin  who  could  make  it  as  I  wanted 
except  Elin  Gow;  he  refused.  I  told  him  that  I 
would  give  my  head  if  I  did  not  bring  the  cow 
home  to  him  in  safety.  I  followed  her  well  till, 
on  the  way  home,  she  went  to  drink  near  the  sea, 
and  I  went  before  her;  that  moment  she  sprang 
away  like  a  bird,  and  went  out  through  the 

"I  am  afraid,"  said  the  old  man,  "that  to  get 
her  is  more  than  you  can  do.  You  see  those  four 
men?  You  must  fight  and  conquer  them  before 
you  get  Glas  Gainach." 

The  old  man  spread  out  the  table-cloth,  and 
they  ate. 

"I  care  not,"  said  the  king's  son,  "what  comes. 
I  am  willing  to  lose  my  head  unless  I  can  bring 
back  the  cow." 

''Well,"  said  the  old  man,   "you  can  try." 

Next  morning  breakfast  was  ready  for  Cian ; 
he  rose,  washed  his  hands  and  face,  prayed  for 
mercy  and  strength,  ate,  and  going  to  the  pole 
of  combat  gave  the  greatest  blow  ever  given 
before  on  it. 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    \  9 

"  Run  out,"  said  the  king  to  the  Tongue- 
speaker;  "see  who  is  abroad." 

"What  do  you  want?"  asked  the  Tongue- 
speaker  of  Cian. 

"The  king's  daughter  and  Glas  Gainach,"  said 

The  speaker  hurried  in  and  told  the  king. 
The  king  went  out  and  asked,  "  Are  you  the  man 
who  wants  my  daughter  and  Glas  Gainach  ? " 

"I  am,"  answered  Cian. 

"You  will  get  them  if  you  earn  them,"  said 
the  king. 

"If  I  do  not  earn  them,  I  want  neither  the 
daughter  nor  the  cow,"  replied  Cian. 

The  king  ordered  out  then  the  four  knights  of 
valor  to  kill  Cian.  He  was  as  well  trained  as 
they,  for  he  had  been  practising  from  his  twelfth 
year,  and  he  was  more  active.  They  were  at 
him  all  day,  and  he  at  them :  he  did  not  let  one 
blow  from  them  touch  his  body;  and  if  a  man 
were  to  go  from  the  Eastern  to  the  Western  World 
to  see  champions,  't  is  at  them  he  would  have 
to  look.  At  last,  when  Cian  was  hungry,  and 
late  evening  near,  he  sprang  with  the  strength 
of  his  limbs  out  of  the  joints  of  his  bones,  and 
rose  above  them,  and  swept  the  heads  of  the 
four  before  he  touched  ground. 

The  young  champion  was  tired  after  the  day, 

2O  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

and  went  to  the  old  man.  The  old  man  asked, 
"What  have  you  done?" 

"  I  have  knocked  the  heads  off  the  four  cham- 
pions of  valor." 

The  old  man  was  delighted  that  the  first  day 
had  thriven  in  that  way  with  Cian.  He  looked 
at  the  sword.  "Oh,  there  is  no  danger,"  cried 
he.;  "you  have  the  best  sword  I  have  ever  seen, 
and  you'll  need  it,  for  you'll  have  more  forces 
against  you  to-morrow." 

The  old  man  and  Cian  spent  the  night  in  three 
parts,  —  the  first  part  in  eating  and  drinking,  the 
second  in  telling  tales  and  singing  songs,  the 
third  in  sound  sleep. 

The  old  man  told  how  he  had  been  the  cham- 
pion of  Spain,  and  at  last  when  he  grew  old  the 
king  gave  him  that  house. 

Next  morning  Cian  washed  his  face  and  hands, 
prayed  for  help  and  mercy,  ate  breakfast  with  the 
old  man,  went  to  the  pole  of  combat,  and  gave  a 
greater  blow  still  than  before. 

"What  do  you  want  this  day?"  asked  the 

"  I  want  three  hundred  men  on  my  right  hand, 
three  hundred  on  my  left,  three  hundred  after 
my  poll,  three  hundred  out  in  front  of  me."  The 
king  sent  the  men  out  four  deep  through  four 
gates.  Cian  went  at  them,  and  as  they  came  he 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    2 1 

struck  the  heads  off  them;  and  though  they 
fought  bravely,  in  the  evening  he  had  the  heads 
off  the  twelve  hundred.  Cian  then  left  the  field, 
and  went  to  the  old  man. 

"What  have  you  done  after  the  day?"  asked 
the  old  man. 

"I  have  stretched  the  king's  forces." 

"You  '11  do  well,"  said  the  old  man. 

The  old  champion  put  the  cloth  on  the  table, 
and  there  was  food  for  a  king  or  a  champion. 
They  made  three  parts  of  that  night,  — the  first 
for  eating  and  drinking,  the  second  for  telling 
tales  and  singing  songs,  the  third  for  sleep  and 
sound  rest. 

Next  morning,  Cian  gave  such  a  blow  on  the 
pole  of  combat  that  the  king  in  his  chamber  was 

"What  do  you  want  this  time?"  asked  the 

"I  want  the  same  number  of  men  as  yesterday." 

The  king  sent  the  men  out;  and  the  same  fate 
befell  them  as  the  other  twelve  hundred,  and  Cian 
went  home  to  the  old  man  untouched.  Next 
morning  Cian  made  small  bits  of  the  king's  pole 
of  combat. 

"  Well,  what  do  you  want  ?  "  asked  the  Tongue- 

"Whatever  I  want,  I  don't  want  to  be  losing 
time.  Let  out  all  your  forces  against  me  at  once  " 

22  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  king  sent  out  all  the  forces  he  wished  that 
morning.  The  battle  was  more  terrible  than  all 
the  others  put  together;  but  Cian  went  through 
the  king's  forces,  and  at  sunset  not  a  man  of 
them  was  living,  and  he  let  no  one  nearer  than 
the  point  of  his  sword. 

"  How  did  the  day  thrive  with  you  ?  "  asked 
the  old  man  when  Cian  came  in. 

"I  have  killed  all  the  king's  champions." 

"I  think,"  said  the  old  man,  "that  you  have 
the  last  of  his  forces  down  now;  but  what  you 
have  done  is  nothing  to  what  is  before  you.  The 
king  will  come  out  and  say  to-morrow  that  you 
will  not  get  the  daughter  with  Glas  Gainach  till 
you  eat  on  one  biscuit  what  butter  there  is  in 
his  storehouses,  and  they  are  all  full;  you  are  to 
do  this  in  the  space  of  four  hours.  He  will  give 
you  the  biscuit.  Take  this  biscuit  from  me,  and 
do  you  hide  the  one  that  he  will  give  you,  - 
never  mind  it;  put  as  much  as  you  will  eat  on 
this,  and  there'll  be  no  tidings  of  what  butter 
there  is  in  the  king's  stores  within  one  hour,  — 
it  will  vanish  and  disappear." 

Cian  was  very  glad  when  the  old  man  told  him 
what  to  do.  They  spent  that  night  as  they  had 
the  nights  before.  Next  morning  Cian  break- 
fasted, and  went  to  the  castle.  The  king  saw 
him  coming,  and  was  out  before  him. 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    23 

"What  do  you  want  this  morning?"  asked  the 

"  I  want  your  daughter  and  Glas  Gainach,"  said 

"Well,"  said  the  king,  "you  will  not  get  my 
daughter  and  Glas  Gainach  unless  within  four 
hours  you  eat  on  this  biscuit  what  butter  there 
is  in  all  my  storehouses  in  Spain ;  and  if  you  do 
not  eat  the  butter,  your  head  will  be  on  a  spike 
this  evening." 

The  king  gave  him  the  biscuit.  Cian  went  to 
the  first  storehouse,  dropped  the  king's  biscuit 
into  his  pocket,  took  out  the  one  the  old  man 
had  given  him,  buttered  it,  and  began  to  eat. 
He  went  his  way  then,  and  in  one  hour  there  was 
neither  sign  nor  trace  of  butter  in  any  storehouse 
the  king  had. 

That  night  Cian  and  the  old  man  passed  the 
time  in  three  parts  as  usual.  "You  will  have 
hard  work  to-morrow,"  said  the  old  man,  "but  I 
will  tell  you  how  to  do  it.  The  king  will  say 
that  you  cannot  have  his  daughter  and  Glas 
Gainach  unless  within  four  hours  you  tan  all  the 
hides  in  Spain,  dry  and  green,  and  tan  them  as 
well  as  a  hand's  breadth  of  leather  that  he  will 
give  you.  Here  is  a  piece  of  leather  like  the 
piece  the  king  will  give.  Clap  this  on  the  first 
hide  you  come  to;  and  all  the  hides  in  Spain 

24  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

will  be  tanned  in  one  hour,  and  be  as  soft  and 
smooth  as  the  king's  piece." 

Next  morning  the  king  saw  Cian  coming,  and 
was  out  before  him.  "What  do  you  want  now?  " 
asked  the  king. 

"Your  daughter  and  Glas  Gainach,"  said  Cian. 

"  You  are  not  to  get  my  daughter  and  Glas 
Gainach  unless  within  four  hours  you  tan  all  the 
dry  and  green  hides  in  Spain  to  be  as  soft  and 
smooth  as  this  piece;  and  if  you  do  not  tan  them, 
your  head  will  be  on  one  of  the  spikes  there 
behind  my  castle  this  evening." 

Cian  took  the  leather,  dropped  it  into  his 
pocket,  and,  taking  the  old  man's  piece,  placed 
it  on  the  first  hide  that  he  touched.  In  one  hour 
all  the  hides  in  Spain  were  tanned,  and  they  were 
as  soft  and  fine  as  the  piece  which  the  king  gave 
to  Cian. 

The  old  man  and  Cian  spent  this  night  as  they 
had  the  others. 

"You  will  have  the  hardest  task  of  all  to- 
morrow," said  the  old  man. 

"  What  is  that  ?  "  asked  the  young  champion. 

"The  king's  daughter  will  come  to  a  window  in 
the  highest  chamber  of  the  castle  with  a  ball  in 
her  hand :  she  will  throw  the  ball  through  the 
window,  and  you  must  catch  it  on  your  hurley, 
and  keep  it  up  during  two  hours  and  a  half; 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    2  5 

never  let  it  touch  the  ground.  There  will  be  a 
hundred  champions  striving  to  take  the  ball  from 
you,  but  follow  my  advice.  The  champions,  not 
knowing  where  the  ball  will  come  down  when  the 
king's  daughter  throws  it,  will  gather  near  the 
front  of  the  castle;  and  if  either  of  them  should 
get  the  ball,  he  might  keep  it  and  spoil  you.  Do 
you  stand  far  outside;  you  will  have  the  best 
chance.  I  don't  know,  though,  what  you  are  to 
do,  as  you  have  no  hurley,  but  wait.  In  my 
youth  I  was  great  to  play  at  hurley,  and  I  never 
met  a  man  that  could  match  me.  The  hurley  I 
had  then  must  be  in  this  house  somewhere." 

The  old  man  searched  the  house  through,  and 
where  did  he  find  the  hurley  but  up  in  the  loft, 
and  it  full  of  dust;  he  brought  it  down.  Cian 
swung  it,  knocked  the  dust  from  the  hurley,  and 
it  was  as  clean  as  when  made. 

"It  is  glad  I  am  to  find  this,  for  any  other 
hurley  in  the  kingdom  would  not  do  you,  but  only 
this  very  one.  This  hurley  has  the  virtue  in  it, 
and  only  for  that  it  would  not  do." 

Both  were  very  glad,  and  made  three  parts  of 
that  night,  as  they  had  of  the  nights  before.  Next 
morning  Cian  rose,  washed  his  hands  and  face, 
and  begged  mercy  and  help  of  God  for  that  day. 

After  breakfast  he  went  to  the  king's  castle, 
and  soon  many  champions  came  around  him. 

26  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  king  was  outside  before  him,  and  asked  what 
he  wanted  that  day. 

"  I  want  your  daughter  and  Glas  Gainach." 

"You  will  not  get  my  daughter  and  Glas 
Gainach  till  you  do  the  work  I  '11  give,  and  I  '11 
give  you  the  toughest  task  ever  put  before  you. 
At  midday,  my  daughter  will  throw  out  a  ball 
through  the  window,  and  you  must  keep  that  ball 
in  the  air  for  two  hours  and  a  half:  it  must  never 
touch  ground  in  that  time,  and  when  the  two 
hours  and  a  half  are  spent,  you  must  drive  it  in 
through  the  same  window  through  which  it  went 
out;  if  not,  I  will  have  your  head  on  a  spike  this 

"God  help  us!  "  said  Cian. 

All  the  champions  were  together  to  see  which 
man  would  get  the  ball  first;  but  Cian,  thinking 
of  the  old  man's  advice,  stood  outside  them  all. 
At  midday  the  king's  daughter  sent  out  the  ball 
through  the  highest  window;  and  to  whom  should 
it  go  but  to  Cian,  and  he  had  the  luck  of  getting 
it  first.  He  drove  the  ball  with  his  hurley,  and 
for  two  hours  and  a  half  he  kept  it  in  the  air,  and 
did  not  let  another  man  touch  it.  Then  he  gave 
it  a  directing  blow,  and  sent  it  in  through  the 
window  to  the  king's  daughter. 

The  king  watched  the  ball  closely;  and  when 
it  went  in,  he  ran  to  Cian,  shook  his  hand  warmly, 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    27 

and  never  stopped  till  he  took  him  to  his  daugh- 
ter's high  chamber.  She  kissed  him  with  joy 
and  great  gladness.  He  had  done  a  thing  that 
no  other  had  ever  done. 

"  I  have  won  the  daughter  and  Glas  Gainach 
from  you  now,"  said  Cian. 

"You  have,"  said  the  king;  aand  they  are  both 
yours.  I  give  them  with  all  my  heart.  You 
have  earned  them  well,  and  done  what  no  other 
man  could  do.  I  will  give  you  one-half  of  the 
kingdom  till  my  death,  and  all  of  it  from  that 

Cian  and  the  king's  daughter  were  married. 
A  great  feast  was  made,  and  a  command  given 
out  that  all  people  of  the  kingdom  must  come  to 
the  wedding.  Every  one  came;  and  the  wedding 
lasted  seven  days  and  nights,  to  the  pleasure  of 
all,  and  the  greatest  delight  of  the  king.  Cian 
remained  with  the  king;  and  after  a  time  his  wife 
had  a  son,  the  finest  and  fairest  child  ever  born 
in  Spain,  and  he  was  increasing  so  that  what  of 
him  did  n't  grow  in  the  day  grew  in  the  night, 
and  what  did  not  grow  in  the  night  grew  in  the 
day,  and  if  the  sun  shone  on  any  child,  it  shone 
on  that  one.  The  boy  was  called  Cormac  after 
Cian's  father,  Cormac  Mac  Art. 

Cian  remained  with  the  King  of  Spain  till 
Cormac' s  age  was  a  year  and  a  half.  Then  he 

28  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

remembered  his  promise  to   Elin   Gow  to  bring 
back  Glas  Gainach. 

Cian  put  stores  in  the  vessel  in  which  he  had 
come,  and  placed  Glas  Gainach  inside,  firmly 
fettered.  He  gave  then  the  stem  of  his  ship  to 
the  ocean,  the  stern  to  land,  raised  the  limber 
sails;  and  there  was  the  work  of  a  hundred  men 
on  each  side,  though  Cian  did  the  work  all  alone. 
He  sailed  through  the  main  ocean  with  safety 
till  he  came  to  Tramor,  —  the  best  landing-place 
in  Erin  at  that  time.  Glas  Gainach  was  brought 
to  shore  carefully,  and  Cian  went  on  his  way 
with  her  to  go  to  Elin  Gow's  house  at  Cluainte. 

There  was  no  highway  from  Tramor  but  the 
one;  and  on  that  one  were  three  brothers,  three 
robbers,  the  worst  at  that  time  in  Erin.  These 
men  knew  all  kinds  of  magic,  and  had  a  rod  of 
enchantment.  Cian  had  brought  much  gold  with 
him  on  the  way,  coming  as  a  present  to  his  father. 

The  three  brothers  stopped  Cian,  saluted  him, 
and  asked  would  he  play  a  game.  He  said  that 
he  would.  They  played,  and  toward  evening  the 
robbers  had  the  gold  won ;  then  they  said  to 
Cian,  "Now  bet  the  cow  against  the  gold  you 
have  lost,  and  we  will  put  twice  as  much  with  it." 
He  laid  the  cow  as  a  wager,  and  lost  her. 

One  of  the  three  robber  brothers  struck  Cian 
with  the  rod  of  enchantment,  and  made  a  stone 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.     29 

pillar  of  him,  and  made  an  earth  mound  of  Glas 
Gainach  with  another  blow.  The  two  remained 
there,  the  man  and  the  cow,  by  the  roadside. 

Cian's  son  Cormac  was  growing  to  manhood  in 
Spain,  and  heard  his  mother  and  grandfather  talk 
of  his  father,  and  he  thought  to  himself,  "There 
was  no  man  on  earth  that  could  fight  with  my 
father;  and  I  promise  now  to  travel  and  be  walk- 
ing always  till  I  find  out  the  place  where  he 
is,  living  or  dead." 

As  Cormac  had  heard  that  his  father  was  from 
Erin,  to  Erin  he  faced,  first  of  all.  The  mother 
was  grieved,  and  advised  him  not  to  go  wander- 
ing. "Your  father  must  be  dead,  or  on  the  prom- 
ise he  made  me  he'd  be  here  long  ago." 

"There  is  no  use  in  talking;  the  world  will 
not  stop  me  till  I  know  what  has  happened  to 
my  father,"  said  Cormac. 

The  mother  could  not  stop  him;  she  gave  her 
consent.  He  turned  then  to  his  grandfather. 
"Make  ready  for  me  the  best  vessel  you  have," 
said  he.  The  vessel  was  soon  ready  with  provi- 
sions for  a  day  and  a  year,  and  gold  two  thousand 
pieces.  He  embarked,  and  went  through  the 
main  ocean  faster  than  his  father  had  gone  till 
he  sailed  into  Tramor.  He  was  on  his  way  walk- 
ing till  he  came  to  the  robbers  about  midday. 

They  saluted  him  kindly,  thinking  he  had  gold, 
and  asked,  "Will  you  play  a  game  with  us? " 

3<D  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  will,"  said  Cormac;  "I  have  never  refused." 

They  played.  The  robbers  gained,  and  let 
him  gain;  they  were  at  him  the  best  of  the  day, 
till  they  won  the  last  piece  of  gold  of  his  two 
thousand  pieces. 

When  he  had  lost  what  he  had,  he  was  like  a 
wild  man,  and  knew  not  what  to  do  for  a  while. 
At  last  Cormac  said  to  himself,  "It  is  an  old 
saying  never  contradicted  that  strength  will  get 
the  upper  hand  of  enchantment."  He  jumped 
then,  and  caught  two  of  the  three  robbers,  one 
in  each  hand,  and  set  them  under  his  two  knees. 
The  third  was  coming  to  help  the  two;  but 
Cormac  caught  that  one  with  his  hand  and  held 
the  three,  kept  them  there,  and  said,  "I  will 
knock  the  heads  off  every  man  of  you." 

"Do  not  do  that,"  begged  the  three.  "Who 
are  you?  We  will  do  what  you  ask  of  us." 

"I  am  seeking  my  father,  Cian  Mac  Cormac, 
who  left  Spain  eighteen  years  ago  with  Glas 

"Spare  us,"  said  the  three  brothers ;  "we  will 
give  back  your  gold  and  raise  up  your  father  with 
Glas  Gainach." 

"How  can  ye  do  that,"  asked  Cormac,  "or 
where  is  my  father? " 

"He  is  that  pillar  there  opposite  " 

"And  where  is  Glas  Gainach?" 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach. 


They  showed  him  the  earth  mound. 

"How  can  ye  bring  them  back  to  their  own 
shapes  ?  "  asked  Cormac. 

"We  have  a  rod  of  enchantment,"  said  the 
brothers;  and  they  told  where  the  rod  was. 
When  Cormac  had  a  true  account  of  the  rod, 
what  he  did  was  to  draw  out  his  sword  and  cut 
the  heads  off  the  three  brothers,  saying,  "Ye 
will  never  again  rob  any  man  who  walks  this 
way."  Cormac  then  found  the  rod  of  enchant- 
ment, went  to  the  pillar,  gave  it  a  blow,  and 
his  father  came  forth  as  well  and  healthy  as 

"Who  are  you?  "  asked  Cian  of  Cormac. 

"I  am  your  son  Cormac." 

"Oh,  my  dear  son,  how  old  are  you? " 

"I'm  in  my  twentieth  year,"  said  Cormac. 
"  I  heard  my  mother  and  grandfather  talk  of  your 
bravery,  and  I  made  up  my  mind  to  go  in  search 
of  you,  and  be  walking  always  till  I  found  you. 
I  said  I  'd  face  Erin  first,  for  't  was  there  you 
went  with  Glas  Gainach.  I  landed  this  morning, 
met  these  three  robbers;  they  won  all  my  gold. 
I  was  like  a  wild  man.  I  caught  them,  and  swore 
I  would  kill  them.  They  asked  who  was  I;  I 
told  them.  They  said  you  were  the  stone  pillar; 
that  they  had  a  rod  that  would  raise  you  up  with 
Glas  Gainach.  They  told  where  the  rod  was.  I 

3  2  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

took  the  heads  off  them,  and  raised  you  with  the 

Now  Cormac  struck  the  earth  mound,  and  Glas 
Gainach  rose  up  as  well  as  before.  Everything 
was  now  in  its  own  place,  and  they  were  glad. 
Cian  would  not  stop  till  he  brought  Glas  Gainach 
to  Elin  Gow,  so  he  was  walking  night  and  day 
till  he  came  here  behind  to  Cluainte,  where 
Elin  Gow  was  living.  He  screeched  out  Elin 
Gow's  name,  told  him  to  come.  He  came  out; 
and  when  he  saw  Cian  and  Glas  Gainach  he 
came  near  fainting  from  joy.  Cian  put  Glas 
Gainach's  horn  in  his  hand,  and  said,  "I  wished 
to  keep  the  promise  I  made  when  you  spared 
my  head;  and  it  was  gentle  of  you  to  spare  it, 
for  great  was  the  loss  that  I  caused  you;"  and 
he  told  all  that  had  happened, — how  he  had 
won  and  lost  Glas  Gainach,  and  lost  her  through 
the  robbers. 

"  Who  is  this  brave  youthful  champion  with 
you?  "  asked  Elin  Gow. 

"This  is  my  son,  and  but  for  him  I  'd  be  for- 
ever where  the  three  robbers  put  me.  I  was 
eighteen  years  where  they  left  me;  but  for  that, 
the  cow  would  have  been  with  you  long  ago. 
What  were  you  doing  all  this  time?"  asked 
Cian  of  Elin  Gow. 

"  Making  swords  and  weapons,  but  I  could  not 
have  lived  without  the  support  of  your  father." 

Elin  Gow  and  the  Cow  Glas  Gainach.    33 

"He  promised  me  that,"  said  Cian,  "before  I 
left  Erin.  I  knew  that  he  would  help  you." 

"Oh,  he  did!"  said  Elin  Gow. 

The  father  and  son  left  good  health  with  Elin 
Gow,  and  never  stopped  nor  stayed  till  they 
reached  the  castle  of  Cian's  father.  The  old 
king  had  thought  that  Cian  was  dead,  as  he  had 
received  no  account  of  him  for  so  many  years. 
Great  was  his  joy  and  gladness,  and  great  was  the 
feast  that  he  made.  • 

Cian  remained  for  a  month,  and  then  went  to 
the  house  of  the  robbers,  took  out  all  its  treas- 
ures, locked  up  the  place  in  the  way  that  no  man 
could  open  it;  then  he  gave  one-half  his  wealth 
to  his  father.  He  took  the  rest  to  Spain  with 
his  son,  and  lived  there. 

Elin  Gow  had  grown  old,  and  he  was  in  dread 
that  he  had  not  the  strength  to  follow  Glas 
Gainach,  and  sent  a  message  to  Caol  na  Crua, 
the  fleetest  champion  in  Kerry.  Caol  came. 
Elin  Gow  agreed  to  pay  him  his  price  for  mind- 
ing the  cow,  and  was  glad  to  get  him.  He  told 
Caol  carefully  how  to  herd  the  cow.  She 
travelled  as  before,  and  was  always  at  home 
before  nightfall. 

Glas  Gainach  had  milk  for  all;  and  when  any 
one  came  to  milk  her  she  would  stop,  and  there 
never  was  a  vessel  that  she  did  not  fill.  One 


34  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

woman  heard  this;  and  once  when  Glas  Gainach 
was  near  a  river,  the  woman  brought  a  sieve 
and  began  to  milk.  She  milked  a  long  time. 
At  last  the  cow  saw  the  river  white  with  milk; 
then  she  raised  her  leg,  gave  the  woman  a  kick 
on  the  forehead,  and  killed  her. 

Caol  na  Crua  was  doing  well,  minding  the 
cow  all  the  time,  till  one  evening  Glas  Gainach 
walked  between  the  two  pillars  where  she  used 
to  scratch  herself;  when  she  was  full,  her  sides 
would  touch  both  pillars.  This  evening  she 
bellowed,  and  Elin  Gow  heard  her.  Instead  of 
going  home  then,  she  went  down  to  a  place 
northwest  of  Cluainte,  near  a  ruin;  she  used  to 
drink  there  at  times,  but  not  often.  Caol  na 
Crua  did  not  know  this.  He  thought  she  was 
going  into  the  sea,  and  caught  her  tail  to  hold 
her  back.  With  that,  instead  of  drinking,  she 
went  straight  toward  the  water.  Caol  tried  to 
hold  her.  She  swept  him  along  and  went 
through  the  ocean,  he  keeping  the  grip  he  had, 
and  she  going  with  such  swiftness  that  he  was 
lying  flat  on  the  sea  behind  her;  and  she  took 
him  with  her  to  Spain  and  went  to  the  king,  and 
very  joyful  was  the  king,  for  they  were  in  great 
•distress  for  butter  while  Glas  Gainach  was  gone. 


IN  old  times,  there  was  a  great  woman  in  the 
southwest  of  Erin,  and  she  was  called  Mor. 
This  woman  lived  at  Dun  Quin;  and  when  she 
came  to  that  place  the  first  time  with  her  hus- 
band Lear,  she  was  very  poor.  People  say  that  it 
was  by  the  water  she  came  to  Dun  Quin.  What- 
ever road  she  took,  all  she  had  came  by  the  sea, 
and  went  the  same  way. 

She  built  a  small  house,  and  their  property  was 
increasing  little  by  little.  After  a  while  she 
had  three  sons,  and  these  grew  to  be  very  fine 
boys  and  then  strong  young  men. 

The  two  elder  sons  set  out  to  try  their  for- 
tunes; they  got  a  vessel,  sailed  away  on  the  sea, 
and  never  stopped  nor  halted  till  they  came  to 
the  Kingdom  of  the  White  Strand,  in  the  eastern 
world.  There  they  stayed  for  seven  years,  goal- 
ing  and  sporting  with  the  people. 

The  king  of  that  country  wished  to  keep  them 
forever,  because  they  were  strong  men,  and  had 
risen  to  be  great  champions. 

36  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  youngest  son  remained  at  home  all  the 
time,  growing  to  be  as  good  a  man  as  his 
brothers.  One  day  he  went  out  to  look  at  a 
large  field  of  wheat  which  his  mother  had,  and 
found  it  much  injured. 

"Well,  mother,"  said  he  when  he  came  in,  "all 
our  field  is  destroyed  by  something.  I  don't 
kr\ow  for  the  world  what  is  it.  Something  comes 
in,  tramples  the  grain  and  eats  it." 

"Watch  the  field  to-night,  my  son,  and  see 
what  is  devouring  our  grain." 

"Well,  mother,  boil  something  for  me  to  eat 
to  give  me  strength  and  good  luck  for  the 

Mor  baked  a  loaf,  and  boiled  some  meat  for  her 
son,  and  told  him  to  watch  well  till  the  hour  of 
night,  when  perhaps  the  cattle  would  be  before 

He  was  watching  and  looking  there,  till  all  at 
once,  a  little  after  midnight,  he  saw  the  field 
full  of  cattle  of  different  colors,  — beautiful  col- 
ors, blue,  and  red,  and  white.  He  was  looking  at 
them  for  a  long  time,  they  were  so  beautiful. 
The  young  man  wanted  to  drive  the  beasts  home 
with  him,  to  show  his  mother  the  cattle  that  were 
spoiling  the  grain.  He  had  them  out  of  the  field 
on  the  road  when  a  herder  stood  before  him,  and 
said,  "Leave  the  cattle  behind  you." 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder. 

"I  will  not,"  said  Mor's  son;  "I  will  drive 
them  home  to  my  mother." 

"I  will  not  let  them  with  you,"  said  the 

"I'll  carry  them  in  spite  of  you,"  replied 
Mor's  son. 

He  had  a  good,  strong  green  stick,  and  so  had 
the  herder;  the  two  faced  each  other,  and  began 
to  fight.  The  herder  was  too  strong  for  Mor's 
son,  and  he  drove  off  the  cattle  into  the  sea. 

"Oh,"  said  the  herder,  as  he  was  going,  "your 
mother  did  not  boil  your  meat  or  bake  your  loaf 
rightly  last  night;  she  gave  too  much  fire  to  the 
loaf  and  the  meat,  took  the  strength  out  of  them. 
You  might  do  something  if  your  mother  knew 
how  to  cook." 

When  Mor's  son  went  home,  his  mother  asked, 
"Did  you  see  any  cattle,  my  son?  " 

"  I  did,  mother;  the  field  was  full  of  them.  And 
when  I  was  bringing  the  herd  home  with  me  to 
show  you,  a  man  stood  there  on  the  road  to  take 
the  beasts  from  me;  we  fought,  and  when  he 
beat  me  and  was  driving  the  cattle  into  the  sea, 
what  did  he  say  but  that  you  boiled  the  meat  and 
baked  the  loaf  too  much  last  night.  To-night, 
when  you  boil  my  meat,  do  not  give  it  half  the 
fire;  leave  all  the  strength  in  the  meat  and  the 

38  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  will,"  said  the  mother. 

When  night  came,  the  dinner  was  ready.  The 
young  man  ate  twice  as  much  of  the  meat  and 
the  loaf  as  the  evening  before.  About  the  same 
hour,  just  after  midnight,  he  went  to  the  field, 
for  he  knew  now  what  time  the  cattle  would  be 
in  it.  The  field  was  full  of  the  same  cattle  of 
beautiful  colors.. 

Mor's  son  drove  the  beasts  out,  and  was  going 
to  drive  them  home,  when  the  herder,  who  was 
not  visible  hitherto,  came  before  him  and  said, 
"I  will  not  let  the  cattle  with  you." 

"I  will  take  them  in  spite  of  you,"  replied 
Mor's  son. 

The  two  began  to  fight,  and  Mor's  son  was 
stronger  this  time. 

"  Why  do  you  not  keep  your  cattle  out  of  my 
wheat  ?  "  asked  he  of  the  herder. 

"  Because  I  know  very  well  that  you  are  not 
able  to  take  them  with  you." 

"  If  I  am  not  able  to  take  the  cattle,  you  may 
have  them  and  the  wheat  as  well,"  said  Mor's 

The  herder  was  driving  the  cattle  one  way,  and 
Mor's  son  was  driving  them  the  opposite  way; 
arid  after  they  had  done  that  for  a  while,  they 
faced  each  other  and  began  to  fight  again. 

Mor's  son  was  doubly  angry  at  the  herder  this 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder.  39 

night  for  the  short  answers  that  he  gave.  They 
fought  two  hours;  then  the  herder  got  the  upper 
hand.  Mor's  son  was  sorry;  and  the  herder,  as 
he  drove  the  cattle  to  the  sea,  called  out,  "Your 
mother  gave  too  much  fire  to  the  meat  and  the 
loaf ;  still  you  are  stronger  to  night  than  you  were 
last  night." 

Mor's  son  went  home. 

"Well,  my  son,"  asked  the  mother,  "have  you 
any  news  of  the  cattle  and  the  herder?  " 

"I  have  seen  them,  mother." 

"  And  what  did  the  herder  do  ?  " 

"  He  was  too  strong  for  me  a  second  time,  and 
drove  the  cattle  into  the  sea." 

"What  are  we  to  do  now?  "  asked  the  mother. 
"  If  he  keeps  on  in  this  way,  we  '11  soon  be  poor, 
and  must  leave  the  country  altogether. " 

"  The  herder  said,  as  he  drove  the  cattle  away, 
'  Your  mother  gave  too  much  fire  to  the  meat  and 
the  loaf;  still  you  are  stronger  to-night  than  you 
were  last  night. '  Well,  mother,  if  you  gave  too 
much  fire  to  my  dinner  last  night,  give  but  little 
to-night,  and  I  will  leave  my  life  outside  or  have 
the  cattle  home  with  me  this  time.  If  I  do  not 
beat  him,  he  may  have  the  wheat  as  well  as  the 
cattle  after  to-night." 

Mor  prepared  the  dinner;  and  this  time  she 
barely  let  the  water  on  the  meat  begin  to  bubble, 
and  to  the  bread  she  gave  but  one  roast. 

40  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

He  ate  and  drank  twice  as  much  as  the  day 
before.  The  dinner  gave  him  such  strength  that 
he  said,  "I  '11  bring  the  cattle  to-night." 

He  went  to  the  field,  and  soon  after  midnight 
it  was  full  of  cattle  of  the  same  beautiful  colors ; 
the  grain  was  spoiled  altogether.  He  drove  the 
cattle  to  the  road,  and  thought  he  had  them.  He 
got  no  sight  of  the  herder  till  every  beast  was 
outside  the  field,  and  he  ready  to  drive  them 
home  to  his  mother.  Then  the  herder  stood 
before  him,  and  began  to  drive  the  cattle  toward 
the  sea. 

"You  '11  not  take  them  this  time,"  said  Mor's 

"I  will,"  said  the  herder. 

They  began  to  fight,  caught  each  other, 
dragged,  and  struggled  long,  and  in  the  heel  of 
the  battle  Mor's  son  was  getting  the  better  of 
the  herder. 

"I  think  that  you'll  have  the  upper  hand  of 
me  this  time,"  said  the  herder;  "and  'tis  my 
own  advice  I  blame  for  it.  You  '11  take  the 
cattle  to-night  in  spite  of  me.  Let  me  go  now, 
and  take  them  away  with  you." 

"I  will,"  said  Mor's  son.  "I  will  take  them 
to  the  house,  and  please  my  mother." 

He  drove  the  cattle  home,  and  said  to  his 
mother,  "  I  have  the  cattle  here  now  for  you, 
and  do  whatever  you  wish  with  them." 

Mor  s  Sons  and  the  Herder.  41 

The  herder  followed  Mor's  son  to  the  house. 

"Why  did  you  destroy  all  my  grain  with  your 
cattle?  "  asked  Mor. 

"  Let  the  cattle  go  with  me  now,  and  I  promise 
that  after  to-night  your  field  of  wheat  will  be  the 
best  in  the  country." 

"What  are  we  to  do?  "  asked  Mor  of  the  son. 
"Is  it  to  let  the  cattle  go  with  him  for  the 
promise  he  gives?  " 

"  I  will  do  what  you  say,  mother." 

"We  will  give  him  the  cattle,"  said  Mor. 

"Well,"  said  the  son  to  the  herder,  "my 
mother  is  going  to  give  you  the  cattle  for  the 
promise  that  our  grain  will  be  the  best  in  the 
country  when  't  is  reaped.  We  ought  to  be 
friends  after  the  fighting;  and  now  take  your 
cattle  home  with  you,  though  you  vexed  and 
hurt  me  badly." 

"I  am  very  grateful  to  you,"  said  the  herder 
to  Mor's  son,  "and  for  your  kindness  you  will 
have  plenty  of  cattle  and  plenty  of  wheat  before 
you  die,  and  seeing  that  you  are  such  a  good  man 
I  will  give  you  a  chance  before  I  leave  you. 
The  King  of  Mayo  has  an  only  daughter;  the 
fairies  will  take  her  from  him  to-morrow.  They 
will  bring  her  through  Daingean,  on  the  shoul- 
ders of  four  men,  to  the  fairy  fort  at  Cnoc  na 
Hown.  Be  at  the  cross-roads  about  two  o'clock 

42  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

to-morrow  night.  Jump  up  quickly,  put  your 
shoulder  under  the  coffin,  the  four  men  will 
disappear  and  leave  the  coffin  on  the  road;  do 
you  bring  what's  in  the  coffin  home  with  you." 

Mor's  son  followed  the  herder's  directions. 
He  went  toward  Daingean  in  the  night,  for  he 
knew  the  road  very  well.  After  midnight,  he 
was  at  the  cross-roads,  waiting  and  hidden. 
Soon  he  saw  the  coffin  coming  out  against  him, 
and  the  four  men  carrying  it  on  their  shoulders. 

The  young  man  put  his  shoulder  under  the 
coffin;  the  four  dropped  it  that  minute,  and 
disappeared.  Mor's  son  took  the  lid  off  the 
coffin;  and  what  did  he  find  lying  inside  but  a 
beautiful  woman,  warm  and  ruddy,  sleeping  as  if 
at  home  in  her  bed.  He  took  out  the  young 
woman,  knowing  well  that  she  was  alive,  and 
placing  her  on  his  back,  left  the  coffin  behind 
at  the  wayside. 

The  woman  could  neither  walk  nor  speak,  and 
he  brought  her  home  to  his  mother.  Mor  opened 
the  door,  and  he  put  the  young  woman  down  in 
the  corner. 

"What's  this  you  brought  me?  What  do  I 
want  with  the  like  of  her  in  the  house?" 

"Never  mind,  mother;  it  may  be  our  luck  that 
will  come  with  her." 

They  gave  her  every  kind  of  drink  and  nourish- 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder.  43 

ing  food,  for  she  was  very  weak;  when  daylight 
came,  she  was  growing  stronger,  and  could  speak. 
The  first  words  she  said  were,  "  I  am  no  good  to 
you  in  the  way  that  I  am  now ;  but  if  you  are  a 
brave  man,  you  will  meet  with  your  luck  to-mor- 
row night.  All  the  fairies  will  be  gathered  at  a 
feast  in  the  fort  at  Cnoc  na  Hown;  there  will  be 
a  horn  of  drink  on  the  table.  If  you  bring  that 
horn,  and  I  get  three  sips  from  it  (if  you  have  the 
heart  of  a  brave  man  you  will  go  to  the  fort,  seize 
the  horn,  and  bring  it  here),  I  shall  be  as  well 
and  strong  as  ever,  and  you  will  be  as  rich  your- 
self as  any  king  in  Erin." 

"  I  have  stood  in  great  danger  before  from  the 
like  of  them,"  replied  Mor's  son.  "I  will  make 
a  trial  of  this  work,  too. " 

"Between  one  and  two  o'clock  in  the  night 
you  must  go  to  the  fort,"  said  the  young  woman, 
"and  you  must  carry  a  stick  of  green  rowan  wood 
in  your  hand." 

The  young  man  went  to  the  fairy  fort,  keeping 
the  stick  carefully  and  firmly  in  his  hand.  At 
parting,  the  young  woman  warned  him,  saying, 
"They  can  do  you  no  harm  in  the  world  while 
you  have  the  stick,  but  without  the  stick  there 
is  no  telling  what  they  might  do." 

When  Mor's  son  came  to  Cnoc  na  Hown,  and 
went  in  through  the  gate  of  the  fairy  fort,  he  saw 

44  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

a  house  and  saw  many  lights  flashing  in  different 
places.  In  the  kitchen  was  a  great  table  with  all 
sorts  of  food  and  drink,  and  around  it  a  crowd  of 
small  men.  When  he  was  making  toward  the 
table,  he  heard  one  of  the  men  say, — 

"Very  little  good  will  the  girl  be  to  Mor's 
son.  He  may  keep  her  in  the  corner  by  his 
mother.  There  will  be  neither  health  nor 
strength  in  her;  but  if  she  had  three  drinks  out 
of  this  horn  on  the  table  here,  she  would  be  as 
well  as  ever." 

He  faced  them  then,  and,  catching  the  horn, 
said,  "She  will  not  be  long  without  the  drink!  " 

All  the  little  men  looked  at  one  another  as  he 
hurried  through  the  door  and  disappeared.  He 
had  the  stick,  and  they  could  not  help  themselves; 
but  all  began  to  scold  one  another  for  not  having 
the  courage  to  seize  him  and  take  the  horn  from 

Mor's  son  reached  home  with  the  horn. 
"Well,  mother,"  said  he,  "we  have  the  cure 
now;"  and  he  didn't  put  the  horn  down  till  the 
young  woman  had  taken  three  drinks  out  of  it, 
and  then  she  said,  — 

"You  are  the  best  champion  ever  born  in  Erin, 
and  now  take  the  horn  back  to  Cnoc  na  Hown ; 
I  am  as  well  and  hearty  as  ever." 

He  took  the  horn  back  to  the  fairy  fort,  placed 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder.          45 

it  on  the  table,  and  hurried  home.  The  fairies 
looked  at  one  another,  but  not  a  thing  could  they 
do,  for  the  stick  was  in  his  hand  yet. 

"The  woman  is  as  well  as  ever  now,"  said  one 
of  the  fairies  when  Mor's  son  had  gone,  "and  we 
have  lost  her;"  and  they  began  to  scold  one 
another  for  letting  the  horn  go  with  him.  But 
that  was  all  the  good  it  did  them;  the  young 
woman  was  cured. 

Next  day  the  young  woman  said  to  Mor's  son, 
"I  am  well  now,  and  I  will  give  you  a  token  to 
take  to  my  father  and  mother  in  Mayo." 

"  I  will  not  take  the  token,"  said  he;  "I  will  go 
and  seek  out  your  father,  and  bring  back  some 
token  to  you  first." 

He  went  away,  searched  and  inquired  till  he 
made  out  the  king's  castle;  and  when  he  was 
there,  he  went  around  all  the  cattle  and  went 
away  home  to  his  mother  at  Tivorye  with  every 
four-footed  beast  that  belonged  to  the  king. 

"Well,  mother,"  said  he,  "it  is  the  luck  we 
have  now;  and  we  '11  have  the  whole  parish  under 
stock  from  this  out." 

The  young  woman  was  not  satisfied  yet,  and 
said,  "You  must  go  and  carry  a  token  to  my 
father  and  mother." 

"Wait  awhile,  and  be  quiet,"  answered  Mor's 
son.  "  Your  father  will  send  herders  to  hunt  for 

46  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  stock,  and  these  men  will  have  token  enough 
when  they  come." 

Well,  sure  enough,  the  king's  men  hunted  over 
hills  and  valleys,  found  that  the  cattle  had  been 
one  day  in  such  a  place  and  another  day  in 
another  place;  and  they  followed  on  till  at  length 
and  at  last  they  came  near  Mor's  house,  and 
there  they  saw  the  cattle  grazing  above  on  the 

There  was  no  house  in  Dun  Quin  at  that  time 
but  Mor's  house,  and  there  was  not  another  in 
it  for  many  a  year  after. 

"We  will  send  a  man  down  to  that  house," 
said  the  herders,  "to  know  can  we  get  any 
account  of  what  great  champion  it  was  that 
brought  the  cattle  all  this  distance." 

What  did  the  man  see  when  he  came  near  the 
house  but  his  own  king's  daughter.  He  knew 
the  young  woman,  and  was  struck  dumb  when  he 
saw  her,  and  she  buried  two  months  before  at  her 
father's  castle  in  Mayo.  He  had  no  power  to 
say  a  word,  he  forgot  where  he  was,  or  why  he 
was  sent.  At  last  he  turned,  ran  up  to  the  men 
above  on  the  mountain,  and  said,  "The  king's 
daughter  is  living  below  in  that  house." 

The  herders  would  not  believe  a  word  he  said, 
but  at  last  three  other  men  went  down  to  see  for 
themselves.  They  knew  the  king's  daughter,  and 

Mor  s  Sons  and  the  Herder.          47 

were  frightened;  but  they  had  more  courage,  and 
after  a  while  asked,  "  Where  is  the  man  that 
brought  the  cattle  ?  " 

"He  is  sleeping,"  said  the  king's  daughter. 
"He  is  tired  after  the  long  journey;  if  you  wish, 
I  will  wake  him." 

She  woke  Mor's  son,  and  he  came  out. 

"  What  brought  you  here  ?  "  asked  he  of  the 

"We  came  looking  for  our  master's  cattle; 
they  are  above  on  the  mountain,  driven  to  this 
place  by  you,  as  it  seems.  We  have  travelled 
hither  and  over  till  we  found  them." 

"Go  and  tell  your  master,"  said  Mor's  son, 
"that  I  brought  the  cattle;  that  Lear  is  my 
father,  and  Mor  is  my  mother,  and  that  I  have 
his  daughter  here  with  me." 

"There  is  no  use  in  sending  them  with  that 
message,"  said  the  young  woman;  "my  father 
would  not  believe  them." 

"Tell  your  master,"  said  Mor's  son,  "that  it 
is  I  who  brought  the  cattle,  and  that  I  have  his 
daughter  here  in  good  health,  and  't  is  by  my 
bravery  that  I  saved  her." 

"If  they  go  to  my  father  with  that  message,  he 
will  kill  them.  I  will  give  them  a  token  for 

"  What  token  will  you  give?  " 

48  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  will  give  them  this  ring  with  my  name  and 
my  father's  name  and  my  mother's  name  written 
inside  on  it.  Do  not  give  the  ring,"  said  she  to 
the  men,  "till  ye  tell  my  father  all  ye  have  seen; 
if  he  will  not  believe  you,  then  give  the  ring." 

Away  went  the  men,  and  not  a  foot  of  the 
cattle  did  they  take;  and  if  all  the  men  in  Mayo 
had  come,  Mor's  son  would  not  have  let  the 
cattle  go  with  them,  for  he  had  risen  to  be  the 
best  champion  in  Erin.  The  men  went  home  by 
the  straightest  roads;  and  they  were  not  half  the 
time  going  to  the  king's  castle  that  they  were  in 
finding  the  cattle. 

On  the  way  home,  one  man  said  to  the  others, 
"  It  is  a  great  story  we  have  and  good  news  to 
tell;  the  king  will  make  rich  men  of  us  for  the 
tidings  we  are  taking  him." 

When  they  reached  the  king's  castle,  there  was 
a  welcome  before  them. 

"  Have  ye  any  news  for  me  after  the  long 
journey?"  asked  the  king. 

"We  found  your  daughter  with  a  man  in 
Tivorye  in  the  southwest  of  Erin,  and  all  your 
cattle  are  with  the  same  man." 

"  Ye  may  have  found  my  cattle,  but  ye  could 
not  get  a  sight  of  my  daughter." 

"  If  you  do  not  believe  us  in  this  way,  you  will 
in  another.  We  may  as  well  tell  you  all." 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder.  49 

"Ye  may  as  well  keep  silent.  I'll  not  be- 
lieve a  word  of  what  ye  say  about  my  daughter." 

"I  will  give  you  a  token  from  your  daughter," 
said  one  of  the  men,  pulling  out  a  purse.  He 
had  the  purse  rolled  carefully  in  linen.  (And  he 
did  well,  for  the  fairies  cannot  touch  linen,  and 
it  is  the  best  guard  in  the  world  against  them. 
Linen  thread,  too,  is  strong  against  the  fairies. 
A  man  might  travel  all  the  fairy  forts  of  the 
world  if  he  had  a  skein  of  flax  thread  around  his 
neck,  and  a  steel  knife  with  a  black  handle  in 
his  pocket.)  He  took  out  the  ring,  and  gave  it 
to  the  king.  The  king  sent  for  the  queen.  She 
came.  He  put  the  ring  in  her  hand  and  said, 
"  Look  at  this,  and  see  do  you  know  it." 

"I  do  indeed,"  said  she;  "and  how  did  you 
come  by  this  ring?" 

The  king  told  the  whole  story  that  the  men 
had  brought. 

"This  is  our  daughter's  ring.  It  was  on  her 
finger  when  we  buried  her,"  said  the  queen. 

"It  was,"  said  the  king,  "and  what  the  men 
say  must  be  true."  He  would  have  killed  them 
but  for  the  ring. 

On  the  following  morning,  the  king  and  queen 
set  out  with  horses,  and  never  stopped  till  they 
came  to  Tivorye  (Mor's  house).  The  king  knew 
the  cattle  the  moment  he  saw  them  above  on  the 

50  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

mountain,  and  then  he  was  sure  of  the  rest. 
They  were  sorry  to  find  the  daughter  in  such  a 
small  cabin,  but  glad  that  she  was  alive.  The 
guide  was  sent  to  the  house  to  say  the  king  and 
queen  were  coming. 

"Your  father  and  mother  are  coming,"  said  he 
to  the  king's  daughter. 

She  made  ready,  and  was  standing  in  the  door 
before  them.  The  father  and  mother  felt  weak 
and  faint  when  they  looked  at  her;  but  she  ran 
out,  took  them  by  the  hands,  and  said,  "  Have 
courage;  I  am  alive  and  well,  no  ghost,  and  ye 
ought  to  thank  the  man  who  brought  me  away 
from  my  enemies." 

"Bring  him  to  us,"  said  they;  "we  wish  to  see 

"  He  is  asleep,  but  I  will  wake  him." 

"Wake  him,"  said  the  father,  "for  he  is  the 
man  we  wish  to  see  now." 

The  king's  daughter  roused  Mor's  son,  and 
said,  "My  father  and  mother  are  above  in  the 
kitchen.  Go  quickly,  and  welcome  them." 

He  welcomed  them  heartily,  and  he  was  ten 
times  gladder  to  see  them  than  they  were  to 
see  him.  They  inquired  then  how  he  got  the 
daughter,  and  she  buried  at  home  two  months 
before.  And  he  told  the  whole  story  from  first 
to  last  :  How  the  herder  from  the  sea  had  told 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder.  51 

him,  and  how  he  had  saved  her  at  Cnoc  na  Hown. 
They  had  a  joyful  night  in  the  cabin  after  the 
long  journey,  and  anything  that  would  be  in  any 
king's  castle  they  had  in  Mor's  house  that  night, 
for  the  king  had  plenty  of  everything  with  him 
from  the  castle.  Next  morning  the  king  and 
queen  were  for  taking  the  daughter  home  with 
them ;  but  she  refused  firmly,  and  said,  — 

"I  will  never  leave  the  man  who  saved  me 
from  such  straits.  I  '11  never  marry  any  man  but 
him,  for  I  'm  sure  that  he  is  the  best  hero  ever 
reared  in  Erin,  after  the  courage  that  he  has 

"We  will  never  carry  you  away,  since  you  like 
him  so  well;  and  we  will  send  him  twice  as  many 
cattle,  and  money  besides." 

They  brought  in  the  priest  of  whatever  religion 
was  in  it  at  the  time  (to  be  sure,  it  was  not 
Catholic  priests  were  in  Erin  in  those  days),  and 
Mor's  son  and  the  king's  daughter  were  married. 
The  father  and  mother  left  her  behind  in  Tivorye, 
and  enjoyed  themselves  on  the  way  home, .  they 
were  that  glad  after  finding  the  daughter  alive. 

When  Mor's  son  was  strong  and  rich,  he  could 
not  be  satisfied  till  he  found  his  two  brothers, 
who  had  left  home  years  before,  and  were  in  the 
kingdom  of  the  White  Strand,  though  he  did  not 
know  it.  He  made  up  a  fine  ship  then,  and  got 

52  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

provisions  for  a  day  and  a  year,  went  into  it,  set 
sail,  and  went  on  over  the  wide  ocean  till  he 
came  to  the  chief  port  of  the  King  of  the  White 
Strand.  He  was  seven  days  on  the  water;  and 
when  he  came  in  on  the  strand,  the  king  saw  him, 
and  thought  that  he  must  be  a  brave  man  to 
come  alone  on  a  ship  to  that  kingdom. 

"That  must  be  a  great  hero,"  said  he  to  his 
men.  "  Let  some  of  the  best  of  you  go  down 
and  knock  a  trial  out  of  him  before  he  comes  to 
the  castle." 

The  king  was  so  in  dread  of  the  stranger  that 
out  of  all  the  men  he  selected  Mor's  two  elder 
sons.  They  were  the  best  and  strongest  men  he 
had,  and  he  sent  them  to  know  what  activity  was 
in  the  new-comer.  They  took  two  hurleys  for 
themselves  and  one  for  the  stranger,  and  a  ball. 

The  second  brother  challenged  the  stranger  to 
play.  When  the  day  was  closing,  the  stranger 
was  getting  the  upper  hand.  They  invited  him 
to  the  king's  castle  for  the  night,  and  the  elder 
brother  challenged  him  to  play  a  game  on  the 
following  day. 

"How  did  the  trial  turn  out?  "  asked  the  king 
of  the  elder  brother. 

"  I  sent  my  brother  to  try  him,  and  it  was  the 
strange  champion  that  got  the  upper  hand. " 

Mor's  son  remained  at  the  castle  that  night, 

Mor  s  Sons  and  the  Herder.  53 

and  found  good  welcome  and  cheer.  He  ate 
breakfast  next  morning,  and  a  good  breakfast  it 
was.  They  took  three  hurleys  then  and  a  ball, 
and  went  to  the  strand.  Said  the  eldest  brother 
to  the  second,  "  Stop  here  and  look  at  us,  and 
see  what  the  trial  will  be  between  us." 

They  gave  the  stranger  a  choice  of  the  hurleys, 
and  the  game  began.  It  couldn't  be  told  who 
was  the  better  of  the  two  brothers.  The  king 
was  in  dread  that  the  stranger  would  injure  him- 
self and  his  men.  In  the  middle  of  the  day, 
when  it  could  not  be  determined  who  was  the 
better  man,  the  elder  brother  said,  "We  will  try 
wrestling  now,  to  know  which  of  us  can  win  that 

"  I  'm  well  satisfied,"  said  Mor's  son. 

They  began  to  wrestle.  The  elder  brother 
gave  Mor's  son  several  knocks,  and  he  made 
several  turns  on  the  elder. 

"Well,  if  I  live,"  said  the  elder,  "you  are  my 
brother;  for  when  we  used  to  wrestle  at  home,  I 
had  the  knocks,  and  you  had  the  turns.  You  are 
my  younger  brother,  for  no  man  was  able  to 
wrestle  with  me  when  I  was  at  Tivorye  but 

They  knew  each  other  then,  and  embraced. 
Each  told  his  story. 

"Come  home  with  me  now,"  said  the  youngest 

54  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

brother,  "and  see  our  mother.  I  am  as  rich  as 
any  king,  and  can  give  you  good  entertainment." 

The  three  went  to  the  King  of  the  White 
Strand,  and  told  him  everything.  The  eldest 
and  second  brother  asked  leave  of  him  to  go 
home  to  see  their  father  and  mother.  The  king 
gave  them  leave,  and  filled  their  vessel  with 
every  kind  of  good  food,  and  the  two  promised 
to  come  back. 

The  three  brothers  set  sail  then,  and  after 
seven  days  came  in  on  the  strand  near  Tivorye. 
The  two  found  their  brother  richer  than  any  king 
in  any  country.  They  were  enjoying  themselves 
at  home  for  a  long  time,  having  everything  that 
their  hearts  could  wish,  when  one  day  above 
another  they  saw  a  vessel  passing  Dun  Quin, 
and  it  drew  up  at  the  quay  in  Daingean  harbor. 
Next  day  people  went  to  the  ship;  but  if  they  did, 
not  a  man  went  on  board,  for  no  man  was  allowed 
to  go. 

There  was  a  green  cat  on  deck.  The  cat  was 
master  of  the  vessel,  and  would  not  let  a  soul 
come  near  it.  A  report  went  out  through  the 
town  that  the  green  cat  would  allow  no  one  to 
go  near  the  ship,  and  for  three  weeks  this  report 
was  spreading.  No  one  was  seen  on  the  vessel 
but  the  cat,  and  he  the  size  of  a  big  man. 

Mor's  sons  heard  of  the  ship  and  the  green  cat 

Afors  Sons  and  the  Herder.  55 

at  Daingean,  and  they  said,  "  Let  us  have  a 
day's  pleasure,  and  go  to  the  ship  and  see  the 

Mor  bade  them  stay  at  home.  "Don't  mind 
the  ship  or  the  cat,"  said  she,  "and  follow  my 
advice."  But  the  sons  would  not  follow  her 
advice,  nor  be  said  by  her,  and  away  they  went, 
in  spite  of  all  she  could  do. 

When  the  cat  saw  them  coming,  he  knew  very 
well  who  were  in  it.  He  jumped  out  on  the 
shore,  stood  on  two  legs,  and  shook  hands  with 
the  three  brothers.  He  was  as  tall  himself  as 
the  largest  man,  and  as  friendly  as  he  could  be. 
The  three  brothers  were  glad  to  receive  an  honor 
which  no  one  else  could  get. 

"  Come  down  now  to  the  cabin  and  have  a  trial 
of  my  cooking,"  said  the  cat. 

He  brought  them  to  the  cabin,  and  the  finest 
dinner  was  on  the  table  before  them,  —  meat  and 
drink  as  good  as  ever  they  tasted  either  in 
Tivorye  or  the  kingdom  of  the  White  Strand. 

When  the  cat  had  them  below  in  the  cabin, 
and  they  eating  and  drinking  with  great  pleas- 
ure and  delight,  he  went  on  deck,  screwed  down 
the  hatches,  raised  the  sails,  and  away  went  the 
vessel  sailing  out  of  the  harbor;  and  before  the 
three  brothers  knew  where  they  were,  the  ship 
was  miles  out  on  the  ocean,  and  they  thought 

56  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

they  were  eating  dinner  at  the  side  of  the  quay 
in  Daingean. 

"We  '11  go  up  now,"  said  they  when  their  din- 
ner was  eaten,  "thank  the  cat,  and  go  on  shore 
for  ourselves." 

When  on  deck,  they  saw  water  on  all  sides,  and 
did  not  know  in  the  world  where  they  were. 
The  cat  never  stopped  till  he  sailed  to  his  own 
kingdom,  which  was  the  kingdom  of  the  White 
Strand,  for  who  should  the  cat  be  but  the  King 
of  the  White  Strand.  He  had  come  for  the  two 
brothers  himself,  for  he  knew  that  they  would 
never  come  of  their  own  will,  and  he  could  not 
trust  another  to  go  for  them.  The  king  needed 
them,  for  they  were  the  best  men  he  had.  In 
getting  back  the  two,  he  took  the  third,  and  Mor 
was  left  without  any  son. 

Mor  heard  in  the  evening  that  the  ship  was 
gone,  and  her  own  three  sons  inside  in  it. 

"This  is  my  misfortune,"  cried  she.  "After 
rearing  my  three  sons,  they  are  gone  from  me  in 
this  way. "  She  began  to  cry  and  lament  then, 
and  to  screech  wonderfully. 

Mor  never  knew  who  the  cat  was,  or  what 
became  of  her  sons.  The  wife  of  Mor's  youngest 
son  went  away  to  her  father  in  Mayo,  and  every- 
thing she  had  went  with  her.  Mor's  husband, 
Lear,  had  died  long  before,  and  was  buried  at 

Mors  Sons  and  the  Herder.  57 

Dunmore  Head.      His  grave  is  there  to  this  day. 
Mor  became  half  demented,  and  died  soon  after. 

If  women  are  scolding  at  the  present  time,  it 
happens  often  that  one  says  to  another,  "  May 
your  children  go  from  you  as  Mor's  sons  went 
with  the  enchanted  cat!" 


ID  I  NA  DURKACH  (the  King  of  the  Turks) 
lived  many  years  in  Erin,  where  he  had 
one  son,  Saudan  Og.  When  this  son  grew  up 
to  be  twenty  years  old,  he  was  a  prince  whose 
equal  was  hard  to  be  found. 

The  old  king  was  anxious  to  find  a  king's 
daughter  as  wife  for  his  son,  and  began  to  inquire 
of  all  wayfarers,  rich  and  poor,  high  and  low, 
where  was  there  a  king's  daughter  fit  for  his 
son,  but  no  one  could  tell  him. 

At  last  the  king  called  his  old  druid.  "Do 
you  know,"  asked  he,  "where  to  find  a  king's 
daughter  for  Saudan  Og?" 

"I  do  not,"  said  the  druid;  "but  do  you  order 
your  guards  to  stop  all  people  passing  your  castle, 
and  inquire  of  them  where  such  a  woman  may 

As  the  druid  advised,  the  king  commanded;  but 
no  man  made  him  a  bit  the  wiser. 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         59 

A  year  later,  an  old  ship  captain  walked  the 
way,  and  the  guards  brought  him  to  the  king. 

"  Do  you  know  where  a  fitting  wife  for  my  son 
might  be  found?  "  asked  the  king. 

"I  do,"  said  the  captain;  "but  my  advice  to 
you,  and  it  may  be  a  good  one,  is  to  seek  a  wife 
for  your  son  in  the  land  where  he  was  born,  and 
not  go  abroad  for  her.  You  can  find  plenty  of 
good  women  in  Erin." 

"Well,"  said  the  king,  "tell  me  first  who  is 
the  woman  you  have  in  mind." 

"If  you  must  know,"  said  the  old  captain,  "the 
daughter  of  the  King  of  Spain  is  the  woman." 

Straightway  the  king  had  a  notice  put  up  on 
the  high-road  to  bring  no  more  tidings  to  the 
castle,  as  he  had  no  need  of  them. 

When  Saudan  Og  saw  this  notice,  he  knew  that 
his  father  had  the  tidings,  but  would  not  give 
them.  Next  morning  he  went  to  the  father  and 
begged  him  to  tell.  "I  know,"  said  he,  "that 
the  old  captain  told  you." 

The  king  would  say  nothing^  for  he  feared  that 
his  son  might  fall  into  trouble. 

"I  will  start  to-morrow,"  said  Saudan  Og  at 
last,  "  in  search  of  the  woman ;  and  if  I  do  not 
find  her,  I  will  never  come  back  to  you,  so  it  is 
better  to  tell  me  at  once." 

"The  daughter  of  the  King  of  Spain  is  the 

60  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

woman,"  said  the  father;  "but  if  you  take  my 
advice,  you'll  stay  at  home." 

On  the  following  day,  Saudan  Og  dressed  him- 
self splendidly,  mounted  a  white  steed,  and  rode 
away,  overtaking  the  wind  before  him ;  but  the 
wind  behind  could  not  overtake  him.  He  trav- 
elled all  that  was  dry  of  Erin,  and  came  to  the 
seashore;  so  he  had  nowhere  else  to  travel  on 
land,  unless  he  went  back  to  his  father.  He 
turned  toward  a  wood  then,  and  saw  a  great  ash- 
tree  :  he  grasped  the  tree,  and  tore  it  out  with  its 
roots ;  and,  stripping  the  earth  from  the  roots,  he 
threw  the  great  ash  into  the  sea.  Leaving  the 
steed  behind  him,  he  sat  on  the  tree,  and  never 
stopped  nor  stayed  till  he  came  to  Spain.  When 
he  landed,  he  sent  word  to  the  king  that  Saudan 
Og  wished  to  see  him. 

The  answer  that  Saudan  got  was  not  to  come 
till  the  king  had  his  castle  prepared  to  receive 
such  a  great  champion. 

When  the  castle  was  ready,  the  King  of  Spain 
sent  a  bellman  to  give  notice  that  every  man, 
woman,  or  child  found  asleep  within  seven  days 
and  nights  would  lose  their  heads,  for  all  must 
sing,  dance,  and  enjoy  themselves  in  honor  of 
the  high  guest. 

The  king  feasted  Saudan  Og  for  seven  days 
and  nights,  and  never  asked  him  where  was  he 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  ConaL         61 

going  or  what  was  his  business.  On  the  even- 
ing of  the  seventh  day,  Saudan  said  to  the  king, 
"  You  do  not  ask  me  what  brought  me  this  way, 
or  what  is  my  business." 

"Were  you  to  stay  twenty  years  I  would  not 
ask.  I  'm  not  surprised  that  a  prince  of  your 
blood  and  in  full  youthful  beauty  should  travel 
the  world  to  see  what  is  in  it." 

"  It  was  not  to  see  the  world  that  I  came,"  said 
Saudan  Og,  "but  hearing  that  you  have  a  beauti- 
ful daughter,  I  wished  her  for  wife;  and  if  I  do 
not  get  her  with  your  consent,  I  will  take  her  in 
spite  of  you." 

"  You  would  get  my  daughter  with  a  hundred 
thousand  welcomes,"  said  the  king;  "but  as  you 
have  boasted,  you  must  show  action." 

The  king  then  sent  a  messenger  to  three  kings 
—  to  Ri  Fohin,  Ri  Laian,and  Conal  Gulban  —  to 
help  him.  "If  you  will  not  come,"  said  he,  "I 
am  destroyed,  for  Saudan  Og  will  take  my 
daughter  in  spite  of  me." 

The  kings  made  ready  to  sail  for  Spain.  When 
Conal  Gulban  was  going,  he  called  up  his  three 
sons  and  said,  "Stay  here  and  care  for  the 
kingdom  while  I  am  gone." 

"I  will  not  stay,"  said  the  eldest  son.  "You 
are  old  and  feeble:  I  am  young  and  strong;  let 
me  go  in  place  of  you." 

62  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  second  son  gave  a  like  answer.  The 
youngest  had  his  father's  name,  Conal,  and  the 
king  said  to  him,  "  Stay  here  at  home  and  care 
for  the  kingdom  while  I  am  gone,  since  your 
brothers  will  not  obey  me." 

"  I  will  do  what  you  bid  me,"  said  Conal. 

"Now  I  am  going,"  said  the  old  king;  "and  if 
I  and  your  brothers  never  return,  be  not  bribed 
by  the  rich  to  injure  the  poor.  Do  justice  to  all, 
so  that  rich  and  poor  may  love  you  as  they  loved 
your  father  before  you." 

He  left  young  Conal  twelve  advisers,  and  said, 
"  If  we  do  not  return  in  a  day  and  a  year,  be  sure 
that  we  are  killed;  you  may  then  do  as  you  like 
in  the  kingdom.  If  your  twelve  advisers  tell 
you  to  marry  a  king's  daughter  of  wealth  and 
high  rank,  it  will  be  of  help  to  you  in  defending 
the  kingdom.  You  will  be  two  powers  instead 
of  one." 

The  day  and  the  year  passed,  and  no  tidings 
came  of  Conal's  two  brothers  and  father.  At 
the  end  of  the  day  and  the  year,  the  twelve  told 
him  they  had  chosen  a  king's  daughter  for  him, 
a  very  beautiful  maiden.  When  the  twelve  spoke 
of  marriage,  Conal  let  three  screeches  out  of 
him,  that  drove  stones  from  the  walls  of  old 
buildings  for  miles  around  the  castle. 

Now  an  old  druid  that  his  father  had  twenty 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         63 

years  before  heard  the  three  screeches,  and  said, 
"Young  Conal  is  in  great  trouble.  I  will  go 
to  him  to  know  can  I  help  him." 

The  druid  cleared  a  mountain  at  a  leap,  a 
valley  at  a  hop,  twelve  miles  at  a  running  leap, 
so  that  he  passed  hills,  dales,  and  valleys ;  and  in 
the  evening  of  the  same  day,  he  struck  his  back 
against  the  kitchen  door  of  Conal's  castle  just  as 
the  sun  was  setting. 

When  the  druid  came  to  the  castle,  young 
Conal  was  out  in  the  garden  thinking  to  himself, 
"  My  father  and  brothers  are  in  Spain ;  perhaps 
they  are  killed."  The  dew  was  beginning  to  fall, 
so  he  turned  to  go,  and  saw  the  old  man  at  the 
door.  The  druid  was  the  first  to  speak ;  but  not 
knowing  Conal,  he  said,  — 

"Who  are  you  coming  here  to  trouble  the 
child?  It  would  be  fitter  for  you  to  stay  in  your 
own  place  than  to  be  trying  to  wake  young  Conal 
with  your  screeches. " 

"Are  you,"  asked  Conal,  "the  druid  that  my 
father  had  here  years  ago  ?  " 

"I  am  that  old  druid;  but  are  you  little 

"I  am,"  said  Conal,  and  he  gave  the  druid  a 
hundred  thousand  welcomes. 

"I  was  in  the  north  of  Erin,"  said  the  druid, 
"when  I  heard  the  three  screeches,  and  I  knew 

64       i          Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

that  some  one  was  troubling  you,  and  your  father 
in  a  foreign  land.  My  heart  was  grieved,  and 
I  came  hither  in  haste.  I  hear  that  your  twelve 
advisers  have  chosen  a  princess,  and  that  you  are 
to  marry  to-morrow.  Put  out  of  your  head  the 
thought  of  that  princess;  she  is  not  your  equal 
in  rank  or  power.  Be  advised  by  me,  as  your 
father  was.  The  right  wife  for  you  is  the 
daughter  of  the  Yellow  King,  Haughty  and 
Strong.  If  the  king  will  not  give  her,  take  her 
by  force,  as  your  fathers  before  you  took  their 
queens. " 

Conal  was  roused  on  the  following  morning  by 
his  advisers,  who  said,  "  Make  ready  and  go  with 
us  to  the  king's  daughter  we  have  chosen." 

He  mounted  his  steed,  and  rode  away  with 
the  twelve  till  they  came  to  a  cross-road.  The 
twelve  wished  to  turn  to  one  side;  and  when 
Conal  saw  this,  he  put  spurs  to  his  horse,  took 
the  straight  road,  and  never  stopped  till  he  put 
seven  miles  between  himself  and  the  twelve. 
Then  he  turned,  hurried  back  to  the  cross-road, 
came  up  to  the  adviser  whom  he  liked  best,  and, 
giving  him  the  keys  of  the  castle,  said,  — 

"Go  back  and  rule  till  I  or  my  father  or 
brothers  return.  I  give  you  the  advice  that  I 
myself  got :  Never  let  the  poor  blame  you  for 
taking  bribes  from  the  rich;  live  justly,  and  do 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         65 

good  to  the  poor,  that  the  rich  and  the  poor  may 
like  you.  If  you  twelve  had  not  advised  me 
to  marry,  I  might  be  going  around  with  a  ball 
and  a  hurley,  as  befits  my  age;  but  now  I  will 
go  out  in  the  world  and  seek  my  own  fortune." 

He  took  farewell  of  them  then,  and  set  his  face 
toward  the  Yellow  King's  castle.  A  long  time 
before  it  was  prophesied  that  young  Conal,  son 
of  Gulban,  would  cut  the  head  off  the  Yellow 
King,  so  seven  great  walls  had  been  built  around 
the  castle,  and  a  gate  to  each  wall.  At  the  first 
gate,  there  were  seven  hundred  blind  men  to 
obstruct  the  entrance;  at  the  second,  seven  hun- 
dred deaf  men;  at  the  third,  seven  hundred 
cripples;  at  the  fourth,  seven  hundred  sensible 
women;  at  the  fifth,  seven  hundred  idiots;  at  the 
sixth,  seven  hundred  people  of  small  account;  at 
the  seventh,  the  seven  hundred  best  champions 
that  the  Yellow  King  had  in  his  service. 

All  these  walls  and  defenders  were  there  to 
prevent  any  man  from  taking  the  Yellow  King's 
daughter;  for  it  had  been  predicted  that  the  man 
who  would  marry  the  daughter  would  take  the 
king's  head,  and  that  this  man  would  be  Conal,, 
son  of  Conal  Gulban. 

The  only  sleep  that  the  guards  at  the  seven 
gates  had  was  half  an  hour  before  sunrise  and 
half  an  hour  after  sunset.  During  these  two 


66  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

half  hours,  a  plover  stood  on  the  top  of  each  gate ; 
and  if  any  one  came,  the  bird  would  scream,  and 
wake  all  the  people  in  one  instant. 

The  Yellow  King's  daughter  was  in  the  highest 
story  of  the  castle,  and  twelve  waiting-maids 
serving  her.  She  was  so  closely  confined  that 
she  looked  on  herself  as  a  prisoner;  so  one  morn- 
ing early  she  said  to  the  twelve  maids,  "  I  am 
confined  here  as  a  criminal, —  I  am  never  free  even 
to  walk  in  the  garden ;  and  I  wish  in  my  heart 
that  some  powerful  young  king's  son  would  come 
the  way  to  me.  I  would  fly  off  with  him,  and  no 
blood  would  be  shed  for  me. " 

It  was  about  this  time  that  young  Conal  came, 
and,  seeing  all  asleep,  put  spurs  to  his  steed,  and 
cleared  the  walls  at  a  bound.  If  the  birds  called 
out,  he  had  the  gates  cleared  and  was  in  before 
the  champions  were  roused ;  and  when  he  was 
inside,  they  did  not  attack  him. 

He  let  his  horse  out  to  graze  near  the  castle, 
where  he  saw  three  poles,  and  on  each  one  of 
two  of  them  a  skull. 

" These  are  the  heads  of  two  king's  sons  who 
came  to  win  the  Yellow  King's  daughter," 
thought  Conal,  "and  I  suppose  mine  will  be  the 
third  head;  but  if  I  die,  I  shall  have  company." 

At  this  time  the  twelve  waiting-maids  cast  lots 
to  know  who  was  to  walk  in  the  yard,  and  see  if  a 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  ConaL         67 

champion  had  .come  who  was  worthy  of  the  prin- 
cess. The  maid  on  whom  the  lot  fell  came  back 
in  a  hurry,  saying,  "  I  have  seen  the  finest  man 
that  I  ever  laid  eyes  on.  He  is  beautiful,  but 
slender  and  young  yet.  If  there  is  a  man  born 
for  you,  it  is  that  one." 

"Go  again,"  said  the  Yellow  King's  daughter, 
"and  face  him.  Do  not  speak  to  him  for  your 
life  till  he  speaks  to  you;  say  then  that  I  sent 
you,  and  that  he  is  to  come  under  my  window." 

The  maid  went  and  crossed  Conal's  path  three 
times,  but  he  spoke  not;  she  crossed  a  fourth 
time,  and  he  said,  "  I  suppose  it  is  not  for  good 
that  you  cross  my  path  so  early  ?  " 

(It  is  thought  unlucky  to  meet  a  woman  first 
•in  the  morning.) 

"My  mistress  wishes  you  to  go  under  her 

Conal  went  under  the  window;  and  the  king's 
daughter,  looking  down,  fell  deeply  in  love  with 
him.  "I  am  too  high,  and  you  are  too  low," 
said  the  Yellow  King's  daughter.  "If  we  speak, 
people  will  hear  us  all  over  the  castle;  but  I  '11 
take  some  golden  cord,  and  try  can  I  draw  you  up 
to  me,  that  we  may  speak  a  few  words  to  each 

"It  would  be  a  poor  case  for  me,"  said  young 
Conal,  "to  wait  till  you  could  tie  strings  together 

68  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

to  raise  me."  He  stuck  his  sword  in  the  earth 
then,  and,  making  one  bound,  went  in  at  the 
window.  The  princess  embraced  him  and  kissed 
him;  she  knew  not  what  to  give  him  to  eat  or 
to  drink,  or  what  would  please  him  most 

"  Have  you  seen  the  people  at  the  seven 
gates?"  asked  the  Yellow  King's  daughter. 

"I  have,"  answered  Conal. 

"They  are  all  awake  now,  and  I  will  go  down 
and  walk  through  the  gates  with  you;  seeing  me, 
the  guards  will  not  stop  us." 

"I  will  not  do  that.  It  will  never  be  said  of 
young  Conal  of  Erin  that  he  stole  his  wife  from 
her  father.  I  will  win  you  with  strength,  or  not 
have  you." 

"I'm  afraid  there  is  too  much  against  you," 
said  the  Yellow  King's  daughter. 

These  words  enraged  Conal,  and,  making  one 
bound  through  the  window,  he  went  to  the  pole 
of  combat,  and  struck  a  blow  that  roused  the  old 
hag  in  the  eastern  world,  and  shook  the  castle 
with  all  the  land  around  it.  The  Yellow  King 
was  sleeping  at  the  time;  the  shake  that  he  got 
threw  him  out  of  his  bed.  He  fell  to  the  floor 
with  such  force  that  a  great  lump  came  out  on 
his  forehead;  he  was  so  frightened  that  he  said 
to  the  old  druid  who  ran  in  to  help  him,  "  Many 
a  year  have  I  lived  without  hearing  the  like  of 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         69 

that    blow.     There    must   be    a    great    champion 
outside  the  castle." 

The  guard  was  sent  to  see  if  any  one  was  left 
alive  near  the  castle.  "For,"  said  the  king, 
"  such  a  champion  must  have  killed  all  the  people 
at  the  gates."  The  guard  went,  saw  no  one  dead, 
but  every  one  living,  and  a  champion  walking 
around,  sword  in  hand. 

The  guard  hurried  back,  and  said  to  the  king, 
"  There  is  a  champion  in  front  of  the  castle, 
handsome,  but  slender  and  young." 

"Go  to  him,"  said  the  king,  "and  ask  how 
many  men  does  he  want  for  the  combat."  The 
guard  went  out  and  asked. 

"  I  want  seven  hundred  at  my  right  hand,  seven 
hundred  at  my  left,  seven  hundred  behind  me, 
and  as  many  as  all  these  out  in  front  of  me.  Let 
them  come  four  deep  through  the  gates :  do  you 
take  no  part  in  this  battle;  if  I  am  victorious, 
I  will  see  you  rewarded." 

The  guard  told  the  king  how  many  men  the 
champion  demanded.  Before  the  king  opened 
the  gates  for  his  men,  he  said  to  the  chief  of 
them,  "  This  youth  must  be  mad,  or  a  very  great 
champion.  Before  I  let  my  men  out,  I  must  see 

The  king  walked  out  to  young  Conal,  and 
saluted  him.  Conal  returned  the  salute.  "Are 

7O  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

you  the  champion  who  ordered  out  all  these  men 
of  mine?  "  asked  the  king. 

"I  am,"  said  young  Conal. 

"  There  is  not  one  among  them  who  would  not 
kill  a  dozen  like  you,"  said  the  king.  "Your 
bones  are  soft  and  young.  It  is  better  for  you 
to  go  out  as  you  came  in." 

"You  need  not  mind  what  will  happen  me," 
answered  Conal.  "Let  out  the  men;  the  more 
the  men,  the  quicker  the  work.  If  one  man 
would  kill  me  in  a  short  time,  many  will  do  it  in 
less  time." 

The  men  were  let  out,  and  Conal  went  through 
them  as  a  hawk  goes  through  a  flock  of  birds ;  and 
when  one  man  fell  before  him,  he  knocked  the 
next  man,  and  had  his  head  off.  At  sunset 
every  head  was  cut  from  its  body.  Next  he 
made  a  heap  of  the  bodies,  a  heap  of  the  heads, 
and  a  heap  of  the  weapons.  Young  Conal  then 
stretched  himself  on  the  grass,  cut  and  bruised, 
his  clothes  in  small  pieces  from  the  blows  that 
had  struck  him. 

"It  is  a  hard  thing,"  said  Conal,  "for  me  to 
have  fought  such  a  battle,  and  to  lie  here  dying 
without  one  glimpse  of  the  woman  I  love;  could 
I  see  her  even  once,  I  would  be  satisfied." 

Crawling  on  his  hands  and  knees,  he  dragged 
himself  to  the  window  to  tell  her  it  was  for  her 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.    71 

he  was  dying.  The  princess  saw  him,  and  told 
him  to  lie  there  till  she  could  draw  him  up  to  her 
and  care  for  him. 

"  It  is  a  hard  thing  if  I  have  to  wait  here  till 
strings  and  cords  are  fastened  together  to  raise 
me,"  said  he,  and,  making  one  bound  from  where 
he  was  lying  on  the  flat  of  his  back,  he  went  up 
to  her  window;  she  snatched  at  him,  and  pulled 
him  into  the  chamber. 

There  was  a  magic  well  in  the  castle;  the 
Yellow  King's  daughter  bathed  him  in  the  water 
of  it,  and  he  was  made  whole  and  sound  as  before 
he  went  to  battle.  "Now,"  said  she,  "you  must 
fly  with  me  from  this  castle." 

"I  will  not   go  while  there   is  anything  that 
may  be    cast    on    my  honor    in   time  to  come," 
answered  Conal. 

Next  day  he  struck  the  pole  of  combat  with 
double  the  force  of  the  first  time,  so  that  the 
king  got  a  staggering  fit  from  the  shock  that  it 
gave  him. 

The  Yellow  King  had  no  forces  now  but  the 
deaf,  the  blind,  the  cripples,  the  sensible  women, 
the  idiots,  and  the  people  of  small  account.  So 
out  went  the  king  in  his  own  person.  He  and 
young  Conal  made  the  hills,  dales,  and  valleys 
tremble,  and  clear  spring  wells  to  rise  out  of 
hard,  gravelly  places.  Thus  they  fought  for 

72  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

three  days  and  two  nights.  On  the  evening  of 
the  third  day,  the  king  asked  Conal  for  a  time  to 
rest  and  take  food  and  drink. 

"I  have  never  begun  any  work,"  said  Conal, 
"without  finishing  it.  Fight  to  the  end,  then 
you  can  rest  as  long  as  you  like." 

So  they  went  at  it  again,  and  fought  seven 
days  and  seven  nights  without  food,  drink,  or 
rest,  and  each  trying  to  get  the  advantage  of  the 
other.  On  the  seventh  evening,  Conal  swept  the 
head  off  the  king  with  one  blow. 

"  'T  is  your  own  skull  that  will  be  on  the  pole 
in  place  of  mine,  and  I  '11  have  the  daughter," 
said  Conal. 

The  Yellow  King's  daughter  came  down  and 
asked,  "Will  you  go  with  me  now,  or  will  you 
take  the  kingdom  ?  " 

"I  will  go,"  answered  Conal. 

"You  did  not  go  to  the  battle?  "  asked  Conal 
of  the  guard. 

"I  did  not." 

"Well  for  you  that  you  did  not.  Now,"  said 
Conal  to  the  princess,  "whomever  of  the  maids 
you  like  best,  the  guard  may  marry,  and  they 
will  care  for  this  kingdom  till  we  return." 

The  guard  and  maid  were  married,  and  put  in 
charge  of  the  kingdom.  The  following  morning 
young  Conal  got  his  steed  ready  and  set  out  for 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         73 

home  with  the  princess.  As  they  were  riding 
along  near  the  foot  of  a  mountain,  Conal  grew 
very  sleepy,  and  said  to  the  princess,  "I'll  go 
down  now  and  take  a  sleep." 

The  place  was  lonely, —  hardly  two  houses  in 
twenty  miles.  The  Yellow  King's  daughter 
advised  Conal:  "Take  me  to  some  habitation 
and  sleep  there;  this  place  is  too  wild." 

"I  cannot  wait,  —  I  'm  too  drowsy  and  weary 
after  the  long  battle;  but  if  I  might  sleep  a  little, 
I  could  fight  for  seven  days  and  seven  nights 
again."  He  dismounted,  and  she  sat  on  a  green 
mossy  bank.  Putting  his  head  on  her  lap,  he 
fell  asleep,  and  his  steed  went  away  on  the  moun- 
tain side  grazing. 

Conal  had  slept  for  three  days  and  two  nights 
with  his  head  in  the  lap  of  the  Yellow  King's 
daughter,  when  on  the  evening  of  the  third  day 
the  princess  saw  the  largest  man  she  had  ever 
set  eyes  on,  walking  toward  her  through  the  sea 
and  a  basket  on  his  back.  The  sea  did  not 
reach  to  his  knees;  a  shield  could  not  pass  be- 
tween his  head  and  the  sky.  This  was  the  High 
King  of  the  World.  This  big  man  faced  up  to 
where  Conal  and  his  bride  were;  and,  taking  the 
tips  of  her  fingers,  he  kissed  her  three  times. 
"Bad  luck  to  me,"  said  the  King  of  the  World, 
"  if  the  young  woman  I  am  going  for  were  beyond 

74  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  ditch  there  I  would  not  go  to  her.      You  are 
fairer  and  better  than  she." 

"Where  were  you  going?  "  asked  the  princess. 
"Don't  mind  me,  but  go  on." 

"I  was  going  for  the  Yellow  King's  daughter, 
but  will  not  go  a  step  further  now  that  I  see 

"  Go  your  way  to  her,  for  she  is  the  finest  prin- 
cess on  earth ;  I  am  a  simple  woman,  and  another 
man's  wife." 

"  Well,  pain  and  torments  to  me  if  I  go  beyond 
this  without  taking  you  with  me!  " 

"If  this  man  here  were  awake,"  said  the 
Yellow  King's  daughter,  "he  would  put  a  stop 
to  you."  She  was  trying  all  this  time  to  rouse 

"It  is  better  for  him  to  be  as  he  is,"  said  the 
High  King;  "if  he  were  awake,  it's  harm  he'd 
get  from  me,  and  that  would  vex  you." 

When  she  saw  that  he  would  take  her  surely, 
she  bound  him  not  to  make  her  his  wife  for  a  day 
and  a  year. 

"This  is  the  worst  promise  that  ever  I  have 
made,"  said  the  High  King,  "but  I  will  keep  it." 

"  If  this  man  here  were  awake,  he  would  stop 
you,"  said  the  princess. 

The  High  King  of  the  World  thrust  the  tip 
of  his  forefinger  under  the  sword-belt  of  Conal, 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         75 

and  hurled  him  up  five  miles  in  the  air.  When 
Conal  came  down,  he  let  out  three  waves  of  blood 
from  his  mouth. 

"Do  you  think  that  is  enough?"  asked  the 
king  of  the  princess. 

"Throw  him  a  second  time,"  said  the  Yellow 
King's  daughter. 

He  threw  him  still  higher,  and  Conal  put  out 
three  greater  waves.  "  Is  that  enough  ?  " 

"Try  him  a  third  time."  He  threw  him  still 
higher  this  time.  Conal  put  out  three  greater 
waves,  but  waked  not. 

While  the  High  King  was  throwing  up  Conal, 
the  princess  was  writing  a  letter  telling  all, —  that 
she  knew  not  whither  she  was  going,  that  she 
had  bound  the  High  King  of  the  World  not  to 
make  her  his  wife  for  a  day  and  a  year,  "  and, "  said 
she,  "I'm  sure  that  you  will  find  me  in  that 

The  king  took  her  in  his  arms,  and  away  he 
went  walking  in  the  sea,  throwing  fish  into  his 
basket  as  he  travelled  through  the  water. 

Conal  slept  a  hero's  sleep  of  seven  days  and 
nights,  and  woke  four  days  after  his  bride  had 
been  stolen.  He  rubbed  his  eyes,  and,  glancing 
toward  the  mountain  side,  saw  neither  steed  nor 
wife,  and  said,  "No  wonder  that  I  cannot  see 
wife  nor  horse  when  I  'm  so  sleepy;  what  am  I 
to  do?" 

76  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Not  far  away  were  some  small  boys,  and  they 
herding  cows.  The  boys  began  to  make  sport  of 
Conal  for  sleeping  seven  days  and  nights.  "  I 
do  not  blame  you  for  laughing,"  said  Conal  (ever 
since,  when  there  is  a  great  sleeper,  people  say 
that  he  sleeps  like  Conal  on  the  side  of  Beann 
Edain),  "but  have  you  tidings  of  my  wife  and 
my  steed ;  where  are  they,  or  has  any  man  taken 
them  ?  " 

A  boy  older  and  wiser  than  the  others  said, 
"Your  horse  is  on  the  mountain  side  feeding; 
and  every  day  he  came  hither  and  sniffed  you,  and 
you  sleeping,  and  then  went  away  grazing  for 
himself.  Four  days  ago  the  greatest  giant  ever 
seen  by  the  eye  of  man  walked  in  through  the 
ocean;  he  tossed  you  three  times  in  the  air. 
Every  time  we  thought  you  'd  be  broken  to  dust; 
and  the  lady  you  had,  wrote  something  and  put  it 
under  your  belt." 

Conal  read  the  letter,  and  knew  that,  in  spite 
of  her,  the  Yellow  King's  daughter  had  been 
carried  away.  He  then  preferred  battle  to  peace, 
and  asked  the  boys  was  there  a  ship  that  could 
take  him  to  sea. 

"There  is  no  right  ship  in  the  place,  but  there 
is  an  old  vessel  wrecked  in  a  cove  there  beyond," 
said  the  oldest  boy. 

The  boys  went  with  Conal,  and  showed  him  the 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  ConaL          77 

"  Put  your  backs  to  her  now,  and  help  me,"  said 

The  boys  laughed,  thinking  that  two  hundred 
men  could  not  move  such  a  vessel.  Conal 
scowled,  and  then  they  were  in  dread  of  him, 
and  with  one  shove  they  and  Conal  put  the  ship 
in  the  sea;  but  the  water  was  going  in  and  out 
through  her.  Conal  knew  not  at  first  what  to 
do,  as  there  was  no  timber  near  by,  but  he  killed 
seven  cows,  fastened  the  hides  on  the  ship,  and 
made  it  proof  against  water.  When  the  boys 
saw  the  cows  slaughtered,  they  began  to  cry, 
saying,  "  How  can  we  go  home  now,  and  our 
cows  killed  ? " 

"There  is  not  a  cow  killed,"  said  Conal,  "but 
you  will  get  two  cows  in  place  of  her."  He  gave 
two  prices  for  each  cow  of  the  seven,  and  said 
to  the  boys,  "Go  home  now,  and  tell  what  has 
happened. " 

Conal  sailed  away  for  himself;  and  when  his 
ship  was  in  the  ocean,  he  let  her  go  with  the 
wind.  On  the  third  afternoon,  he  saw  three 
islands,  and  on  the  middle  island  a  fine  open 
strand,  with  a  great  crowd  of  people.  He  threw 
out  three  anchors,  two  at  the  ocean  side  and  one 
at  the  shore  side,  so  that  the  ship  would  not  stir, 
no  matter  what  wind  blew,  and,  planting  his 
sword  in  the  deck,  he  gave  one  bound  and  went 

78  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

out  on  the  strand  seven  miles  distant.  He 
saluted  a  good-looking  man,  and  asked,  "Why  are 
so  many  people  here?  What  is  their  business?  " 

"  Where  do  you  live  ?  Of  what  nation  are  you 
that  you  ask  such  a  question?" 

"I  am  a  stranger,"  said  Conal,  "just  come  to 
this  island." 

The  islander  showed  Conal  a  man  sitting  on 
the  beach  as  large  as  twelve  of  the  big  men  of 
the  island.  "  Do  you  see  him  ?  " 

"  I  do,"  said  Conal. 

"  There  are  three  brothers  of  us  on  these  three 
islands;  that  man  is  our  youngest  brother,  and 
he  has  grown  so  strong  and  terrible  that  we  are 
in  dread  he  will  drive  us  from  our  share  of  the 
islands,  and  that  is  why  we  are  here  to-day.  My 
eldest  brother  and  I  have  come  with  what  men 
we  have  to  this  middle  island,  which  belongs  to 
our  youngest  brother.  We  are  to  play  ball 
against  all  his  forces;  if  we  beat  them,  we  shall 
think  ourselves  safe.  Now,  which  side  will  you 
take,  young  champion?  " 

"  If  I  go  on  your  side,  some  may  say  that  I  fear 
your  men ;  and  if  I  go  with  your  younger  brother, 
you  and  your  elder  brother  may  say  that  I  fear 
your  strong  brother's  forces.  Bring  all  the  men 
of  the  three  islands.  I  will  play  against  them." 

"Well,"  asked  the  stranger,  "what  wager  will 
you  lay? " 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         79 

"I'll  wager,"  said  Conal,  "those  two  islands 
out  there  on  the  ocean  side." 

"They  are  ours  already,"  said  the  man. 

"Bad  luck  to  you!  Why  claim  everything?" 
said  Conal.  "Well,  I  '11  lay  another  wager. 
If  I  lose,  I  '11  stand  in  the  middle  of  the  strand, 
and  every  man  of  the  three  islands  may  give 
me  a  blow  of  the  hurley;  and  if  I  win,  I  am  to 
have  a  blow  on  every  man  who  played  against 
me.  But  first,  I  must  have  my  choice  of  the 
hurleys;  all  must  be  thrown  in  a  heap.  I  will 
take  the  one  I  like  best." 

This  was  done,  and  Conal  took  the  largest  and 
strongest  hurley  he  could  find.  The  ball  was 
struck  about  the  middle  of  the  strand;  and  there 
was  a  goal  at  each  end  of  it,  and  these  goals  were 
fourteen  miles  apart.  Conal  took  the  ball  with 
hurley,  hand  and  foot,  and  never  let  it  touch 
ground  till  he  put  it  through  the  goal.  "  Is  that  a 
fair  inning?  "  asked  he  of  the  other  side. 

Soms  said  it  was  foul,  for  he  kept  the  ball  in 
the  air  all  the  time. 

"Well,  I  '11  make  a  second  trial;  I  will  put  it 
through  the  opposite  goal."  He  struck  the  ball 
in  the  middle  of  the  strand,  and  sent  it  toward  the 
other  goal  with  such  force  that  whoever  tipped  it 
never  drew  breath  again,  and  every  man  whom  it 
passed  was  driven  sixty  feet  to  one  side  or  the 

8o  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

other.  Conal  was  always  within  a  few  yards  of 
the  ball,  and  he  put  it  through  the  goal  seven 
miles  distant  from  the  middle  of  the  strand  with 
two  blows. 

"Is  that  a  fair  inning?  "  asked  Conal. 

"  It  would  be  hard  to  say  that  it  is  not,"  said 
one  man,  and  no  man  gainsaid  him. 

"  Let  all  stand  now  in  ranks  two  deep,  till  I 
get  my  blow  on  each  man  of  you." 

All  the  men  were  arranged  two  deep ;  and  when 
Conal  came  up,  the  foremost  man  sprang  behind 
the  one  in  the  rear  of  him,  and  that  one  behind 
the  man  at  his  side,  and  so  on  throughout.  None 
would  stand  to  receive  Conal's  blow. 

Away  rushed  every  man,  woman,  and  child, 
and  never  stopped  till  they  were  inside  in  their 
houses.  First  of  all,  ran  the  brothers  of  the 

When  they  reached  the  castle,  they  began  to 
lament  because  they  had  insulted  the  champion, 
and  knew  not  who  he  was  or  whence  he  had  come. 

The  three  brothers  had  one  sister;  and  when 
she  saw  them  lamenting  and  grieving,  she  asked : 
"  What  trouble  is  on  you  ?  " 

"We  fled  from  the  champion,  and  the  people 
followed  us." 

"None  of  you  invited  the  champion  to  the 
castle,"  said  the  sister;  "now  he  will  fall  into 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         81 

such  a  rage  on  the  strand  that  in  one  hour  he 
will  not  leave  a  person  alive  on  the  islands.  If 
I  had  some  one  to  go  with  me,  I  would  invite 
him,  and  the  people  would  be  spared." 

"  I  will  go  with  you,"  said  her  chief  maid. 

Away  they  went,  walking  toward  the  strand; 
and  when  they  had  come  near,  they  threw  them- 
selves on  their  knees  before  Conal.  He  asked 
who  they  were  and  what  brought  them. 

"  My  brothers  sent  me  to  beg  pardon  for  them, 
and  invite  you  to  the  castle." 

"I  will  go,"  said  Conal;  "and  if  you  had  not 
come,  I  would  not  have  left  a  man  alive  on  the 
three  islands."  Conal  went  with  the  princess, 
and  saw  at  the  castle  a  very  old  and  large  man ; 
and  the  old  man  rose  up  before  him  and  said, 
"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,  young 
Conal  from  Erin." 

"Who  are  you  who  know  me,  and  I  never 
before  on  this  island?"  asked  Conal. 

"My  name  is  Donach  the  Druid,  from  Erin. 
I  was  often  in  your  father's  house,  and  it  was  a 
good  place  for  rich  or  poor  to  visit,  for  they  were 
alike  there;  and  now  I  hope  you  will  take  me 
home  to  be  buried  among  my  own  people.  It 
was  God  who  drove  you  hither  to  this  island  to 
take  me  home." 

"And   I  will  do  that,"  said   Conal,    "if   I  go 

82  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

there  myself.     Tell   me  now  how  you   came  to 
this  place." 

"I  was  taken,"  said  Donach,  "out  on  the  wild 
arm  of  the  wind,  and  was  thrown  in  on  this  island. 
I  am  here  ever  since.  I  am  old  now,  and  I  wish 
to  be  home  in  my  own  place  in  Erin." 

Now  young  Conal,  the  sister,  and  three 
brothers  sat  down  to  dinner.  When  dinner  was 
over,  and  they  had  eaten  and  drunk,  they  were 
as  happy  as  if  they  had  lived  a  thousand  years 
together.  The  three  brothers  asked  Conal  where 
was  he  going,  and  what  was  his  business.  Conal 
did  not  say  that  he  was  in  search  of  his  wife,  but 
he  said  that  he  was  going  to  his  own  castle  and 
kingdom.  The  old  druid,  two  of  the  brothers, 
and  the  sister  said,  "We  will  go  with  you,  and 
serve  you  till  you  come  to  your  kingdom. " 

They  got  a  boat  and  took  him  to  the  ship.  He 
weighed  anchor,  and  sailed  away.  For  two  or 
three  days  they  saw  nothing  wonderful.  The 
fourth  day  they  came  to  a  great  island ;  and  as 
they  neared  it,  they  saw  three  champions  inside, 
and  the  three  fighting  with  swords  and  spears. 
Young  Conal  was  surprised  to  see  three  fighting 
at  the  same  time. 

"Well,"  said  he,  "it  is  nothing  to  see  two 
champions  in  combat,  but  't  is  strange  to  see 
three.  I  will  go  in  and  see  why  they  are  fight- 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         83 

ing."  He  threw  out  his  chains,  and  made  his 
ship  fast;  then  he  made  a  rush  from  the  stern  of 
the  vessel  to  the  bow,  and  as  he  ran,  he  caught 
Donach  the  Druid  and  carried  him,  and  with  one 
leap  was  in  on  the  strand,  seven  miles  from  the 

Young  Conal  faced  the  champions,  and,  salut- 
ing the  one  he  thought  best,  asked  the  cause  of 
their  battle.  The  champion  sat  down,  and 
began.  "I  will  tell  you  the  reason,"  said  he. 
"  Seven  miles  from  this  place  there  stands  a 
castle;  in  that  castle  is  the  most  beautiful  woman 
that  the  eye  of  man  has  ever  seen,  and  the  three 
of  us  are  in  love  with  her.  She  says  she  will 
take  only  the  best  man ;  and  we  are  striving  to 
know  who  is  best,  but  no  man  of  us  three  can 
get  the  upper  hand  of  another.  We  can  kill  every 
man  who  comes  to  the  island,  but  no  man  of  us 
can  kill  another  of  the  three." 

When  Conal  heard  this  he  sprang  up,  and  told 
the  champions  to  face  him  and  he  would  see  what 
they  could  do.  The  three  faced  him,  and  went  at 
him.  Soon  he  swept  the  heads  off  two  of  them, 
but  the  third  man  was  pressing  hard  on  Conal. 
His  name  was  the  Short  Dun  Champion;  but  in 
the  end  Conal  knocked  him  with  a  blow,  and  no 
sooner  had  he  him  knocked  than  Donach  the 
Druid  had  him  tied  with  strong  cords  and  strings 

84  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

of  enchantment.  Then  young  Conal  spoke  to 
Donach  the  Druid  and  said,  "  Come  to  this 
champion's  breastbone  and  split  it,  take  out  his 
heart  and  his  liver,  and  give  them  to  my  young 
hound  to  eat;"  and  turning  to  the  Short  Dun 
Champion,  he  asked,  "  Have  you  ever  been  so 
near  a  fearful  death  as  you  are  at  this  moment?  " 

"  'T  is  hard  for  me  to  answer  you,"  said  he, 
"for  't  is  firmly  I  am  bound  by  your  Druid,  bad 
luck  to  him." 

"Unbind  the  champion,"  said  Conal,  "till  he 
tells  us  at  his  ease  was  he  ever  nearer  a  fearful 
death  than  he  is  at  this  moment." 

"I  was,"  said  the  champion  to  Conal.  "Sit 
down  there  on  that  stool.  I  will  sit  here  and 
tell  you.  I  did  not  think  much  of  your  torture, 
for  I  knew  that  when  my  heart  and  liver  were 
taken,  I  should  be  gone  in  that  moment.  Once 
I  had  a  longer  torture  to  suffer.  Not  many 
months  ago,  I  was  sailing  on  my  ship  in  mid- 
ocean  when  I  saw  the  biggest  man  ever  seen  on 
earth,  and  he  with  a  beautiful  woman  in  his 
hand.  The  moment  I  saw  that  woman  I  was  in 
love  with  her,  and  I  sailed  toward  the  High  King 
of  the  World,  for  it  was  he  that  was  in  it ;  but  if 
I  did,  he  let  my  ship  go  out  in  full  sail  between 
his  two  legs,  and  travelled  on  in  another  direc- 
tion. I  turned  the  ship  again,  and  went  after 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         85 

him.  I  climbed  to  the  topmast,  and  stood  there. 
I  came  up  to  the  King  of  the  World,  for  wind 
and  wave  were  with  me,  and,  being  almost  as 
high  as  the  woman  in  his  hand,  I  made  a  grasp 
at  her;  he  let  my  ship  out  between  his  legs, 
but  if  he  did,  I  took  the  woman  with  me  and 
kissed  her  three  times.  This  enraged  the  High 
King.  He  came  to  my  ship,  bound  and  tied  me 
with  strong  hempen  cords,  then,  putting  a  finger 
under  me,  he  tossed  me  out  on  the  sea  and 
let  my  ship  drift  with  the  wind.  I  had  some 
enchantment  of  my  own,  and  the  sea  did  not 
drown  me.  When  little  fish  came  my  way,  I 
swallowed  them,  and  thus  I  got  food.  I  was  in 
this  state  for  many  days,  and  the  hempen  cords 
began  to  rot  and  weaken.  Through  good  luck  or 
ill,  I  was  thrown  in  on  this  island.  I  pulled  the 
cords,  and  struggled  with  them  till  one  hand  was 
free;  then  I  unbound  myself.  I  came  to  shore 
where  the  island  is  wildest.  A  bird  called  Nails 
of  Daring  had  a  nest  in  a  high,  rugged  cliff. 
This  bird  came  down,  and,  seizing  me,  rose  in  the 
air.  Then  she  dropped  me.  I  fell  like  a  ball,  and 
struck  the  sea  close  to  land.  I  feigned  death 
well,  and  was  up  and  down  with  the  waves  that 
she  might  not  seize  me  a  second  time,  but  soon 
she  swooped  down  and  placed  her  ear  near  me  to 
know  was  I  living.  I  held  my  breath,  and  she, 

86  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

thinking  me  dead,  flew  away.  I  rose  up,  and  ran 
with  all  speed  to  the  first  house  I  found.  Now, 
was  I  not  nearer  a  worse  death  than  the  one  to 
which  you  condemned  me?  Nails  of  Daring 
would  have  given  me  a  frightful  and  slow  death, 
and  you  wished  to  give  me  a  quick  one." 

"Short  Dun  Champion,"  said  Conal,  "the 
woman  you  saw  with  the  High  King  was  my 
wife.  It  was  luck  that  brought  me  in  your  way, 
and  it  was  luck  that  Donach  the  Druid  tied  you 
in  such  a  fashion.  Now  you  must  guide  me  to 
the  castle  of  the  High  King." 

"  Come,  now,  druid,  bind  my  hands  and  feet, 
take  my  heart  and  liver  and  give  them  to  young 
Conal's  hound  whelp,  rather  than  take  me  to  that 
king.  I  got  dread  enough  before  from  him." 

"  Believe  me,  all  I  want  of  you  now  is  to  guide 
my  ship;  you  will  come  back  in  safety  and 
health,"  said  young  Conal. 

"  I  will  go  with  you  and  guide  you,  if  you 
put  me  beneath  your  ship's  ballast  when  you 
see  him  nearijig  us,  for  fear  he  will  get  a  glimpse 
of  me." 

"I  will  do  that,"  said  Conal. 

Now  they  went  out  to  the  ship,  and  steered 
away,  with  the  Short  Dun  Champion  as  pilot. 
They  were  the  fifth  day  at  sea  when  he  steered 
the  ship  toward  the  castle  of  the  High  King. 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  ConaL    87 

"That,"  said  the  Short  Dun  Champion,  pointing 
to  a  great  building  on  an  island,  "is  the  castle 
of  the  High  King  of  the  World;  but  as  good  a 
champion  as  you  are,  you  cannot  free  your  wife 
from  it.  That  castle  revolves;  and  as  it  goes 
around  it  throws  out  poison,  and  if  one  drop  of 
that  poison  were  to  fall  on  you  the  flesh  would 
melt  from  your  bones.  But  the  King  of  the 
World  is  not  at  home  now,  for  to-morrow  the 
day  and  the  year  will  be  up  since  he  stole 
the  wife  from  you.  I  have  some  power  of  en- 
chantment and  I  will  bring  the  woman  to  you  in 
the  ship." 

The  Short  Dun  Champion  went  with  one  leap 
from  the  deck  of  the  ship  to  the  strand,  and, 
caring  for  no  man,  walked  straight  to  the  castle 
where  the  Yellow  King's  daughter  was  held. 
The  castle  had  an  opening  underneath,  and  the 
Short  Dun  Champion,  keeping  the  poison  away 
by  his  power,  passed  in,  found  the  princess,  and 
wrapping  her  in  the  skirt  of  an  enchanted  cloak 
that  he  had,  took  her  out,  and  running  to  the 
strand  was  in  on  the  deck  of  the  ship  with  one 

The  moment  the  princess  set  eyes  on  Conal, 
she  gave  such  a  scream  that  the  High  King  heard 
her,  and  he  off  in  the  Western  World  inviting 
all  the  great  people  to  his  wedding.  He  started 

88  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

that  minute  for  the  castle,  and  did  not  wait  to 
throw  fish  in  his  basket  as  he  went  through  the 
sea.  When  he  came  home,  the  princess  was  not 
there  before  him.  "  Where  has  my  bride  gone, 
or  has  some  one  stolen  her?  "  asked  he. 

"A  man  who  has  a  ship  in  the  harbor  came 
and  stole  the  lady." 

"A  thousand  deaths!  What  shall  I  do,  and  all 
the  high  people  on  the  way  to  the  wedding? " 

He  seized  a  great  club  and  killed  half  his  ser- 
vants, then  rushed  to  the  strand,  and  seeing  the 
ship  still  at  anchor,  shouted  for  battle. 

When  the  Short  Dun  Champion  heard  the 
king's  voice,  he  screamed  to  be  put  under  the 
ballast.  He  was  put  there  and  hidden  from 
sight.  "If  I  whistle  with  my  fingers,"  asked 
young  Conal,  "will  you  come  to  me?" 

"I  will,  if  I  were  to  die  the  next  moment," 
said  the  Short  Dun  Champion. 

Conal  told  Donach  the  Druid  to  stand  at  the 
bows  of  the  ship,  then,  walking  to  the  stern,  he 
was  so  glad  at  having  his  wife  on  the  vessel,  and 
he  going  to  fight  with  the  High  King,  that  he 
made  a  run,  seized  the  druid,  and  carried  him 
with  one  leap  to  the  strand,  eleven  miles  distant. 

The  High  King  demanded  his  wife. 

"She  is  not  your  wife,  but  mine,"  said  young 
Conal.  "  I  won  her  with  my  sword,  and  you 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  Conal.         89 


stole  her  away  like  a  thief,  and  I  sleeping. 
Though  she  is  mine,  I  did  not  flee  when  I  took 
her  away  from  you." 

"It  is  time  for  battle,"  said  the  king,  and  the 
two  closed  in  combat.  The  king,  being  so  tall, 
had  the  advantage.  "  I  might  as  well  make  him 
shorter,"  thought  Conal,  and  with  one  blow  he 
cut  the  two  legs  off  the  king  at  the  knee  joints. 
The  king  fell.  No  sooner  was  he  down  than  the 
druid  had  him  tied  with  hard  cords  of  enchant- 
ment. Conal  whistled  through  his  finger.  The 
Short  Dun  Champion,  hearing  the  whistle, 
screamed  to  be  freed  from  the  ballast.  The  men 
took  him  out.  He  went  in  on  the  strand  with 
one  bound,  and  when  he  came  up  to  where  the 
High  King  was  lying,  Conal  said,  "Cut  this  man 
at  the  breast-bone,  take  out  his  heart  with  his 
liver,  and  give  them  as  food  to  my  hound  whelp." 

"He  is  well  bound  by  your  druid;  but  firmly 
as  he  is  bound,  I  am  in  dread  to  go  near  him  to 
do  this. " 

Conal  then  drew  his  own  sword,  and  with  a 
blow  swept  the  head  off  the  High  King.  Then 
Conal,  Donach  the  Druid,  and  the  Short  Dun 
Champion  went  to  the  ship  and  sailed  homeward. 
On  their  way,  where  should  they  sail  but  along 
the  coast  of  Spain?  While  they  were  sailing, 
Conal  espied  three  great  castles,  and  not  far 
from  them  a  herd  of  cattle  grazing. 

QO  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Will  one  of  you  go  and  inquire  why  these 
three  castles  are  built  near  together?"  asked 
Conal  of  the  two  island  brothers. 

"I  will  go,"  said  the  elder. 

He  went  on  shore  to  the  herdsman  and  asked, 
"Why  are  those  three  castles  so  near  one 
another? " 

"I  will  tell  you,"  said  the  herdsman;  "but  you 
must  come  first  and  touch  my  finger-tips. " 

No  sooner  had  the  champion  done  this,  than 
the  man  drew  a  rod  of  enchantment,  struck  him 
a  blow,  and  turned  him  to  stone. 

Conal  saw  this  from  the  ship,  and  asked,  "  Who 
will  go  in  now?  " 

"I  will  go,"  said  the  second  brother.  "I  have 
the  best  right."  He  went  and  met  the  same  fate 
as  his  brother. 

"I  will  go  this  time,"  said  Conal. 

The  Yellow  King's  daughter,  Donach  the 
Druid,  and  the  Short  Dun  Champion  seized 
Conal  to  keep  him  from  going. 

"  If  I  do  not  live  but  a  moment,  I  must  go  and 
knock  satisfaction  out  of  the  herdsman  for  what 
he  has  done  to  my  men,"  cried  out  Conal.  So  he 
went,  and  walking  up  to  the  herdsman,  asked  the 
same  questions  as  the  two  brothers. 

"Come  here  and  touch  my  finger  tips. " 

Conal  walked  up  to  the  herdsman,  caught  his 

Saudan  Og  and  Young  ConaL         91 

fingers,  then  ran  under  the  rod  and  seized  the 
herdsman;  but  if  he  did,  the  herdsman  had  him 
that  moment  on  the  flat  of  his  back.  But  Conal 
was  up,  and  had  the  herdsman  down,  and,  drawing 
his  sword,  said,  "I  '11  have  your  head  now  unless 
you  tell  me  why  these  three  castles  are  here  close 

"I  will  tell  you,  but  do  you  remember,  young 
Conal,  when  in  our  father's  castle  how  I  used  to 
get  the  first  blow  on  you  ?  " 

''Are  you  my  brother?  "  asked  Conal. 

"I  am,"  said  the  herdsman. 

"  Why  did  you  kill  my  men  ?  " 

"  If  I  killed  them,  I  can  raise  them ;  "  and  going 
to  the  two  brothers,  he  struck  each  a  blow,  and 
they  rose  up  as  well  and  strong  as  ever. 

"Well,"  said  the  brother  to  Conal,  "Saudan 
Og  arrived  in  Spain  the  day  before  we  did,  and 
he  had  one-third  of  the  kingdom  taken  before 
us.  We  went  against  him  the  following  day,  and 
kept  him  inside  that  third,  and  we  have  neither 
gained  nor  lost  since.  The  King  of  Spain  had 
a  castle  here ;  my  father  and  the  King  of  Leinster 
built  a  second  castle  near  that;  Saudan  Og  built 
the  third  near  the  two,  for  himself  and  his  men, 
and  that  is  why  the  three  castles  are  here.  We 
are  ever  since  in  battle;  Saudan  has  the  one- 
third,  and  we  the  rest  of  Spain." 

92  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Conal  arrayed  himself  as  a  champion  next 
morning,  and  went  to  Saudan's  castle.  He  struck 
a  blow  on  the  pole  of  combat  that  shook  the 
whole  kingdom,  and  that  day  he  killed  Saudan 
and  every  man  of  his  forces. 

Conal' s  eldest  brother  married  the  daughter  of 
the  King  of  Spain.  He  took  the  second  brother 
with  him,  married  him  to  the  sister  of  the  two 
island  brothers,  and  gave  him  the  three  islands. 
He  went  home  then,  gave  the  kingdom  of  the 
Yellow  King  to  the  Short  Dun  Champion,  and 
had  the  two  island  brothers  well  married  to  king's 
daughters  in  Erin.  All  lived  happily  and  well; 
if  they  did  not,  may  wei 


HPHERE  was  a  king  once  in  Erin  who  had  a 
•*•  beautiful  queen,  and  the  queen's  heart  was 
as  good  as  her  looks.  Every  one  loved  her,  but, 
above  all,  the  poor  people.  There  wasn't  a 
needy  man  or  woman  within  a  day's  journey  of 
the  castle  who  was  not  blessing  the  beautiful 
queen.  On  a  time  this  queen  fell  ill  suddenly, 
and  said  to  the  king,  "  If  I  die  and  you  marry  a 
second  wife,  leave  not  my  three  sons  to  a  strange 
woman's  rule.  Send  them  away  to  be  reared  till 
they  come  to  age  and  maturity.'' 

The  queen  died  soon  after.  The  king  mourned 
for  her  one  year  and  a  second;  then  his  chief 
men  and  counsellors  urged  him  to  seek  out  a  new 

The  king  built  a  castle  in  a  distant  part  of 
his  kingdom,  and  put  his  three  sons  there  with 
teachers  and  servants  to  care  for  them.  He  married 
a  second  wife  then ;  and  the  two  lived  on  happily 
till  the  new  wife  had  a  son.  The  young  queen 
never  knew  that  the  king  had  other  children  than 

94  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

her  son,  or  that  there  was  a  queen  in  the  king- 
dom before  her. 

On  a  day  when  the  king  was  out  hunting  in 
the  mountains,  the  queen  went  to  walk  near  the 
castle,  and  as  she  was  passing  the  cottage  of  a 
greedy  old  henwife,  she  stumbled  and  fell. 

"  May  the  like  of  that  meet  you  always ! "  said 
the  henwife. 

"  Why  do  you  say  that  ?  "  asked  the  queen,  who 
overheard  her. 

"  It  is  all  one  to  you  what  I  say.  It  is  little 
you  care  for  me  or  the  like  of  me.  It  was  n't 
the  same  with  the  queen  that  was  here  before 
you.  There  was  n't  a  week  that  she  did  not 
give  support  to  poor  people,  and  she  showed  kind- 
ness to  every  one  always." 

"Had  the  king  a  wife  before  me?  "  asked  the 

"He  had,  indeed;  and  I  could  tell  enough  to 
keep  you  thinking  for  a  day  and  a  year,  if  you 
would  pay  me." 

"  I  will  pay  you  well  if  you  tell  all  about  the 
queen  that  was  in  it  before  me. " 

"  If  you  give  me  one  hundred  speckled  goats, 
one  hundred  sheep,  and  one  hundred  cows  I  will 
tell  you." 

"I  will  give  you  all  those,"  said  the  queen, 
"  if  you  tell  everything." 

Black  Thief  and  King  Canal's  Horses.    95 

"The  queen  that  was  here  at  first  had  three 
sons;  and  before  the  king  married  you,  he  pre- 
pared a  great  castle,  and  the  sons  are  in  that 
castle  now  with  teachers  and  men  taking  care  of 
them.  When  the  three  are  of  age,  your  son 
will  be  without  a  place  for  his  head." 

"  What  am  I  to  do  to  keep  my  son  in  the  king- 
dom ?  "  asked  the  queen. 

"  Persuade  the  king  to  bring  his  three  sons  to 
the  castle,  then  play  chess  with  them.  I  will  give 
you  a  board  with  which  you  can  win.  When  you 
have  won  of  the  three  young  men,  put  them  under 
bonds  to  go  for  the  three  steeds  of  King  Conal 
for  you  to  ride  three  times  around  all  the  boun- 
daries of  the  kingdom.  Many  and  many  is  the 
champion  and  hero  who  went  for  King  Conal's 
horses ;  but  not  a  man  of  them  was  seen  again, 
and  so  it  will  be  with  these  three.  Your  son 
will  be  safe  at  home,  and  will  be  king  himself 
when  his  time  comes." 

The  queen  went  home  to  the  castle,  and  if  ever 
she  had  a  head  full  of  plans  it  was  that  time. 
She  began  the  same  night  with  the  king. 

"  Is  n't  it  a  shame  for  you  to  keep  your  children 
away  from  me,  and  I  waiting  this  long  time  for 
you  to  bring  them  home  to  us  ?  " 

"How  am  I  keeping  my  children  from  you?" 
asked  the  king.  "Haven't  you  your  own  son 
and  mine  with  you  always?" 

96  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  You  have  three  sons  of  your  own.  You  were 
married  before  you  saw  me.  Bring  your  children 
home.  I  will  be  as  fond  of  them  as  you  are." 

No  matter  what  the  king  said,  the  queen  kept 
up  her  complaining  with  sweet  words  and 
promises,  and  never  stopped  till  the  king  brought 
his  sons  to  the  castle. 

The  king  gave  a  great  feast  in  honor  of  the 
young  men.  After  the  feast  the  queen  played 
chess  for  a  sentence  with  the  eldest.  She  played 
twice;  won  a. game  and  lost  one.  Next  day  she 
played  one  game  with  the  second  son.  On  the 
third  day,  she  played  with  the  youngest;  won  one 
game  and  lost  one. 

On  the  fourth  day,  the  three  were  in  the  queen's 

"What  sentence  do  you  put  on  me  and  my 
brothers  ?  "  asked  the  eldest. 

"  I  put  you  and  your  brothers  under  sentence 
not  to  sleep  two  nights  in  the  same  house,  nor 
to  eat  twice  off  the  same  table,  till  you  bring  me 
the  three  steeds  of  King  Conal,  so  that  I  may 
ride  three  times  around  the  kingdom." 

"Will  you  tell  me,"  asked  the  eldest  son, 
"where  to  find  King  Conal?" 

"There  are  four  quarters  in  the  world;  I  am 
sure  it  is  in  one  of  these  that  he  lives,"  said 
the  queen. 

Black  Thief  and  King  Conal' s  Horses.    97 

"I  might  as  well  give  you  sentence  now,"  said 
the  eldest  brother.  "  I  put  you  under  bonds  of 
enchantment  to  stand  on  the  top  of  the  castle 
and  stay  there  without  coming  down,  and  watch 
for  us  till  we  come  back  with  the  horses. " 

"  Remove  from  me  your  sentence;  I  will  remove 
mine,"  said  the  queen. 

"If  a  young  man  is  relieved  of  the  first  sen- 
tence put  on  him,  he  will  never  do  anything 
good,"  said  the  king's  son.  "We  will  go  for  the 

Next  day  the  three  brothers  set  out  for  the 
castle  of  King  Conal.  They  travelled  one  day 
after  another,  stopping  one  night  in  one  place 
and  the  next  in  another,  and  they  were  that  way 
walking  till  one  evening,  when  whom  should 
they  meet  but  a  limping  man  in  a  black  cap. 
The  man  saluted  them,  and  they  returned  the 

"What  brought  you  this  road,  and  where  are 
you  going  ?  "  asked  the  stranger. 

"  We  are  going  to  the  castle  of  King  Conal  to 
know  can  we  bring  his  three  horses  home  with 

"Well,"  said  the  man,  "my  house  is  nearby, 
and  the  dark  night  is  coming;  stay  with;  me  till 
morning,  and  perhaps  I  can  help  you." 

The  young  men  went  with  the   stranger,   and 

98  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

soon  came  to  his  house.  After  supper  the  man 
said,  "  It  is  the  most  difficult  feat  in  the  world 
to  steal  King  Conal's  three  horses.  Many  a 
good  man  went  for  them,  and  never  came  back. 
Why  do  you  go  for  those  horses  ? " 

"  Our  father  is  a  king  in  Erin,  and  he  married 
a  second  time.  Our  stepmother  bound  us  to 
bring  the  three  horses,  so  she  may  ride  three 
times  around  our  father's  kingdom." 

"I  will  go  with  you,"  said  the  man.  "Without 
me,  you  would  lose  your  lives;  together,  we  may 
bring  the  horses." 

Next  morning  the  four  set  out,  and  went  their 
way,  walking  one  day  after  another,  till  at  long 
last  they  reached  the  castle  of  King  Conal  at 

On  that  night,  whatever  the  reason  was,  the 
guards  fell  asleep  at  the  stables.  The  stranger 
and  the  three  young  men  made  their  way  to  the 
horses ;  but  if  they  did,  the  moment  they  touched 
them  the  horses  let  three  screeches  out  of  them 
that  shook  the  whole  castle  and  woke  every  man 
in  the  country  around  it. 

The  guards  seized  the  young  men  with  the 
stranger,  and  took  the  four  to  King  Conal. 

The  king  was  in  a  great  room  on  the  ground- 
floor  of  his  castle.  In  front  of  him  was  an  awfully 
big  pot  full  of  oil,  and  it  boiling. 

Black  Thief  and  King  Canal's  Horses.    99 

"Well,"  said  the  king  when  he  saw  the  stranger 
before  him,  "only  that  the  Black  Thief  is  dead, 
I  'd  say  you  were  that  man." 

"I  am  the  Black  Thief,"  said  the  stranger. 

"We  will  know  that  in  time,"  said  the  king; 
"and  who  are  these  three  young  men?  " 

"Three  sons  of  a  king  in  Erin." 

"We  '11  begin  with  the  youngest.  But  stir  up 
the  fire  there,  one  of  you,"  said  King  Conal  to  the 
attendants;  "the  oil  is  not  hot  enough."  And 
turning  to  the  Black  Thief,  he  asked,  "Isn't  that 
young  man  very  near  his  death  at  this  moment?  " 

"I  was  nearer  death  than  he  is,  and  I  escaped," 
said  the  Black  Thief. 

"Tell  me  the  story,"  said  the  king.  "If  you 
were  nearer  death  than  he  is,  I  will  give  his 
life  to  that  young  man." 

"When  I  was  young,"  said  the  Black  Thief, 
"  I  lived  on  my  land  with  ease  and  plenty,  till 
three  witches  came  the  way,  and  destroyed  all 
my  property  I  took  to  the  roads  and  deep 
forests  then,  and  became  the  most  famous  thief 
that  ever  lived  in  Erin.  This  is  the  story  of  the 
witches  who  robbed  and  tried  to  kill  me :  — 

"  There  was  a  king  not  long  ago  in  Erin,  and 
he  had  three  beautiful  daughters.  When  they 
grew  up  to  be  old  enough  for  marriage,  they  were 
enchanted  in  the  way  that  the  three  became 

ioo  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

brazen-faced,  old-looking,  venomous  hags  every 
night,  and  were  three  beautiful,  harmless  young 
women  every  day,  as  before. 

"  I  was  living  for  myself  on  my  land,  and 
had  laid  in  turf  enough  for  seven  years,  and  I 
thought  it  the  size  of  a  mountain.  I  went  out  at 
midnight,  and  what  did  I  see  but  the  hags  at 
my  reek;  and  they  never  stopped  till  they  put 
every  sod  of  the  turf  into  three  creels  on  their 
backs,  and  made  off  with  it. 

"The  following  season  I  brought  turf  for 
another  seven  years,  and  the  next  midnight  the 
witches  stole  it  all  from  me;  but  this  time  I 
followed  them.  They  went  about  five  miles,  and 
disappeared  in  a  broad  hole  twenty  fathoms  deep. 
I  waited,  then  looked  down,  and  saw  a  great  fire 
under  a  pot  with  a  whole  bullock  in  it.  There 
was  a  round  stone  at  the  mouth  of  the  hole.  I 
used  all  my  strength,  rolled  it  down,  broke  the 
pot,  and  spoiled  the  broth  on  the  witches. 

"Away  I  ran  then,  but  was  not  long  on  the 
road  when  I  saw  the  three  racing  after  me.  I 
climbed  a  tree  to  escape  from  them.  The 
witches  came  in  a  rage,  stopped  under  the  tree, 
and  looked  up  at  me.  The  eldest  rested  awhile, 
then  made  a  sharp  axe  of  the  second,  and  a 
venomous  hound  of  the  third,  to  destroy  me. 
She  took  the  axe  herself  then,  gave  one  blow 

Black  Thief  and  King  Condi's  Horses.    101 

of  it,  and  cut  one-third  of  the  tree ;  she  gave  a 
second  blow,  and  cut  another  third ;  she  had  the 
axe  raised  a  third  time  when  a  cock  crowed,  and 
there  before  my  eyes  the  axe  turned  into  a  beau- 
tiful woman,  the  hag  who  had  raised  it  into  a 
second,  and  the  venomous  hound  into  a  third. 
The  three  walked  away  then,  harmless  and  inno- 
cent as  any  young  women  in  Erin.  Was  n't  I 
nearer  death  that  time  than  this  young  man?  " 

"Oh,  you  were,"  said  the  king;  "I  give  him 
his  life,  and  it 's  his  brother  that  's  near  death 
now.  He  has  but  ten  minutes  to  live." 

"Well,  I  was  nearer  death  than  Jthat  young 
man,"  said  the  Black  Thief. 

"Tell  how  it  was.  If  you  convince  me,  I'll 
give  him  his  life,  too." 

"  After  I  broke  their  pot,  the  witches  destroyed 
my  property  night  after  night,  and  I  had  to  leave 
that  place  and  find  my  support  on  the  roads  and 
in  forests.  I  was  faring  well  enough  till  a  year 
of  hunger  and  want  came.  I  went  out  once  into 
a  great  wood,  walked  up  and  down  to  know  could 
I  find  any  food  to  take  home  to  my  wife  and 
my  children. 

"  I  found  an  old  white  horse  and  a  cow  without 
horns.  I  tied  the  tails  of  the  two  to  each  other, 
and  was  driving  them  home  for  myself  with  great 
labor;  for  when  the  white  horse  pulled  backward, 

IO2  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland, 

the  cow  would  pull  forward,  and  when  the  horse 
tried  to  go  on,  the  cow  would  n't  go  with  him. 
They  were  that  way  in  disagreement  till  they 
drew  the  night  on  themselves  and  on  me.  I  had 
a  bit  of  flint  in  my  pocket,  and  put  down  a  fire. 
I  could  not  make  my  way  out  of  the  wood  in  the 
night-time,  and  sat  down  by  the  fire.  I  was  not 
long  sitting  when  thirteen  cats,  wild  and  enor- 
mous, stood  out  before  me.  Of  these,  twelve  were 
each  the  bulk  of  a  man;  the  thirteenth,  a  red 
one,  the  master  of  the  twelve,  was  much  larger. 
They  began  to  purr  on  the  opposite  side  of  the 
fire,  and  make  a  noise  like  the  rumbling  of  thun- 
der. At  last  the  big  red  cat  lifted  his  head, 
opened  his  wide  eyes,  and  said  to  me,  'I  '11  be 
this  way  no  longer;  give  me  something  to  eat.' ' 

"  I  have  nothing  to  give  you,"  said  I,  "unless 
you  take  that  white  horse  below  there  and  kill 

"  He  went  down  then,  and  made  two  halves  of 
the  horse,  left  half  to  the  twelve,  and  ate  the 
other  half  himself.  They  picked  every  bone,  and 
were  not  long  at  it. 

"  The  thirteen  came  up  again,  sat  opposite  me 
at  the  fire,  and  were  purring.  The  big  red  cat 
soon  spoke  a  second  time,  'I'll  not  be  long 
this  way.  Give  me  more  food  to  satisfy  my 
hunger. ' 

Black  Thief  and  King  Conar s  Horses.    103 

" '  I  have  nothing  to  give  unless  you  take  the 
cow  without  horns,'  replied  I. 

"  He  made  two  halves  of  the  cow,  ate  one-half 
himself,  and  left  the  other  to  the  twelve.  While 
they  were  eating  the  cow,  I  took  off  my  coat,  for 
I  knew  what  was  coming,  wrapped  it  around  a 
block  which  I  made  like  myself,  and  then  climbed 
a  tree  quickly.  The  red  cat  came  up  to  the  fire  a 
third  time,  opened  his  great  eyes,  looked  toward 
my  coat,  and  said,  *  I  '11  not  be  long  this  way; 
give  me  more  food. ' 

"  My  coat  gave  no  answer.  The  big  cat  sprang 
at  it,  struck  the  block  with  his  tail,  and  found 
it  was  wood. 

"'Ah,'  said  he,  'you  are  gone;  but  whether 
above  ground  or  under  ground,  we  will  find  you.' 

"  He  put  six  cats  above  and  six  under  ground 
to  find  me.  The  twelve  cats  were  gone  in  a 
breath.  The  big  red  cat  sat  there  waiting ;  and 
when  the  other  twelve  had  run  through  all  Erin, 
above  ground  and  under  ground,  and  come  back 
to  the  fire,  he  looked  up,  saw  me,  and  cried, 
'  Ah,  there  you  are,  you  deceiver.  You  thought 
to  escape,  but  you  will  not.  Come,  now,'  said 
he  to  the  cats,  '  and  gnaw  down  this  tree.' 

"The  twelve  sprang  at  the  tree  under  me,  and 
they  were  not  long  cutting  it  through.  Before 
it  fell,  I  escaped  to  another  tree  near  by,  and  they 

IO4  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

attacked  that,  gnawing  it  down.  I  sprang  to  a 
third.  We  were  that  way,  I  escaping  and  they 
cutting,  till  near  daybreak,  when  I  was  on  the 
last  tree  next  the  open  country.  When  the  tree 
was  half  cut,  what  should  come  the  way  but  thir- 
teen terrible  wolves,  — •  twelve,  and  a  thirteenth 
above  them,  their  master.  They  fell  upon  the 
cats,  and  fought  desperately  a  good  while.  At 
length  the  twelve  on  each  side  were  stretched, 
but  the  two  chiefs  were  fighting  each  other  yet. 
At  last  the  wolf  nearly  took  the  head  off  the  cat 
with  one  snap;  the  cat  whirled  in  falling,  struck 
the  wolf  with  the  sharp  hook  in  his  tail,  made 
two  halves  of  his  skull,  and  the  two  fell  dead, 
side  by  side. 

"  I  slipped  down  then,  but  the  tree  shook  in 
the  way  that  I  was  in  dread  it  would  tumble 
beneath  me,  but  it  did  n't.  Now,  was  n't  I 
nearer  death  that  time  than  this  young  man?" 

"Oh,  you  were,*'  said  King  Conal.  "He's 
not  near  death  at  all,  for  I  give  his  life  to  him; 
but  if  the  two  have  escaped,  we  '11  put  the  third 
man  in  the  pot ;  and  have  you  ever  seen  any  one 
nearer  death  than  he  is  ?  " 

"  I  was  nearer  myself,"  said  the  Black  Thief. 

"  If  you  were,  I  will  give  his  life  to  this  young 
man  as  well  as  his  brothers." 

"I  had  apprentices  in  my  time,"  said  the  Black 

Black  Thief  and  King  Canal's  Horses.    105 

Thief.  "  Among  them  was  one,  a  young  man  of 
great  wit,  and  he  pleased  me.  I  gave  no  real 
learning  to  any  but  this  one;  and  in  the  heel 
of  the  story  he  was  a  greater  man  than  myself,  — 
in  his  own  mind.  There  was  a  giant  in  the  other 
end  of  the  kingdom;  he  lived  in  a  mountain  den, 
and  had  great  wealth  gathered  in  there.  I  made 
up  my  mind  to  go  with  the  apprentice,  and  take 
that  giant's  treasures.  We  travelled  many  days 
till  we  reached  the  mountain  den.  We  hid,  and 
watched  the  ways  of  the  giant.  He  went  out 
every  day,  brought  back  many  things,  but  often 
men's  bodies.  At  last  we  went  to  the  place  in 
his  absence.  There  was  only  one  entrance,  from 
the  top.  I  was  lowering  the  young  man  with 
a  rope,  but  when  halfway  to  the  bottom  he  called 
out  as  if  in  pain.  I  drew  him  up.  '  I  am  in 
dread, '  said  he,  '  to  go  down  in  that  place.  Go 
yourself.  I  will  do  the  work  here  for  you. ' 

"  I  went  down,  found  gold  and  precious  things 
in  plenty,  and  sent  up  what  one  man  could  carry. 
'  I  will  go  out  of  this  now,'  thought  I,  '  before 
the  giant  comes  on  me.'  I  called  to  the  appren- 
tice; no  answer.  I  called  again;  not  a  word 
from  him.  At  last  he  looked  down  and  said,  — 

" '  You  gave  me  good  learning,  and  I  am  grate- 
ful; I  will  gain  my  own  living  from  this  out.  I 
hope  you  '11  spend  a  pleasant  night  with  the 
giant. ' 

io6  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"With  that,  he  made  off  with  himself,  and 
carried  the  treasure.  Oh,  but  I  was  in  trouble 
then !  How  was  I  to  bring  my  life  home  with 
me?  How  was  I  to  escape  from  the  giant?  I 
looked,  but  found  no  way  of  escape.  In  one 
corner  of  the  giant's  kitchen  were  bodies  brought 
in  from  time  to  time.  I  lay  down  with  these, 
and  seemed  dead.  I  was  watching.  After  a 
while  I  heard  a  great  noise  at  the  entrance,  and 
soon  the  giant  came  in  carrying  three  bodies; 
these  he  threw  aside  with  the  others.  He  put 
down  a  great  fire  then,  and  placed  a  pot  on  it :  he 
brought  a  basket  to  the  bodies,  and  began  to  fill 
it;  me  he  threw  in  first,  and  put  six  bodies  on  the 
top  of  me.  He  turned  the  basket  bottom  upward 
over  the  pot,  and  six  bodies  fell  in.  I  held  firmly 
to  my  place.  The  giant  put  the  basket  aside 
in  a  corner  bottom  upward,  —  I  was  saved  that 
time.  When  the  supper  was  ready,  the  giant  ate 
the  six  bodies,  and  then  lay  down  and  slept 
soundly.  I  crept  from  under  the  basket,  went 
to  the  entrance;  a  tree  trunk,  standing  upright  in 
the  wall  at  one  end  of  it,  was  turned  around. 
There  were  steps  in  its  side  from  bottom  to  top ; 
this  was  the  giant's  ladder  Whenever  the  giant 
wished  to  go  up,  he  turned  the  tree  till  the  steps 
came  outside;  and  when  on  top,  he  turned  it  till 
the  smooth  side  was  out  in  the  way  no  one  could 

Black  Thief  and  King  Conal  "s  Horses,    1 07 

go  down  in  his  absence.  When  he  wished  to 
go  down,  he  turned  the  steps  out;  and  when  at 
the  bottom,  he  turned  them  in  again  in  the  way 
no  one  could  follow  him.  This  time  he  forgot 
to  turn  the  tree,  and  that  gave  me  the  ladder. 
I  went  up  without  trouble;  and,  by  my  hand,  I 
was  glad,  for  I  was  much  nearer  death  at  the  giant's 
pot  than  this  man  at  yours." 

"You  were,  indeed,  very  near  death,"  said 
King  Conal,  "and  I  give  his  life  to  the  third 
man.  The  turn  is  on  you  now;  the  three  young 
men  are  safe,  and  it 's  you  that  will  go  into  the 

"Must  I  die?  "  asked  the  Black  Thief. 

"You  must,  indeed,"  said  King  Conal,  "and 
you  are  very  near  death." 

"Near  as  I  am,"  said  the  Black  Thief,  "I  was 
nearer. " 

"Tell  me  the  story;  and  if  you  were  ever 
nearer  death  than  you  are  at  this  minute,  I  will 
give  your  life  to  you." 

"I  set  out  another  day,"  said  the  Black  Thief, 
"  and  travelled  far.  I  came  at  last  to  a  house, 
and  went  into  it.  Inside  was  a  woman  with  a 
child  on  her  knee,  a  knife  in  her  hand,  and  she 
crying.  Twice  she  made  an  offer  of  the  knife 
at  the  child  to  kill  it.  The  beautiful  child 
laughed,  and  held  out  its  hands  to  her. 

io8  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

" '  Why  do  you  raise  the  knife  on  the  child,  ' 
asked  I,  '  and  why  are  you  crying?  ' 

" '  I  was  at  a  fair, '  said  the  woman,  '  last  year 
with  my  father  and  mother;  and  while  the  people 
were  busy  each  with  his  own  work,  three  giants 
came  in  on  a  sudden.  The  man  who  had  a  bite 
of  bread  in  his  hand  did  not  put  the  bread  to  his 
mouth,  and  the  man  who  had  a  bite  in  his  mouth 
did  not  swallow  it.  The  giants  robbed  this  one 
and  that,  took  me  from  my  father  and  mother, 
and  brought  me  to  this  place.  I  bound  them, 
and  they  promised  that  none  of  the  three  would 
marry  me  before  I  was  eighteen  years  of  age. 
I  '11  be  that  in  a  few  days,  and  there  is  no  escape 
for  me  now  unless  I  raise  hands  on  myself. 

" '  Yesterday  the  giants  brought  this  child ; 
they  said  it  was  the  son  of  some  king,  and  told 
me  to  have  it  cooked  and  prepared  in  a  pie  for 
their  supper  this  evening. ' 

"'  Spare  the  child,'  said  I.  '  I  have  a  young 
pig  that  I  brought  to  roast  for  myself  on  the 
road;  take  that,  and  prepare  it  instead  of  the 

" '  The  giants  would  know  the  pig,  and  kill  me, ' 
said  the  woman. 

"'They  would  not,'  said  I;  'there  is  only  a 
small  difference  between  the  flesh  of  a '  young 
pig  and  a  child.  We  will  cut  off  the  first  joint 

Black  Th ief  and  King  Conal ' s  Horses.    \  o 9 

of  the  left  little  finger.  If  they  make  a  remark, 
show  them  that. ' 

"  She  cooked  the  pie,  and  I  watched  outside 
for  the  giants.  At  last  I  saw  the  three  coming. 
She  hid  the  child  in  a  safe  place  aside;  and  I 
went  to  the  cellar,  where  I  found  many  dead 
bodies.  I  lay  down  among  them,  and  waited. 
When  the  giants  came  home,  the  eldest  ate  the 
pie,  and  called  to  the  woman,  'That  would  be 
very  good  if  we  had  enough  of  it.'  Then  he 
turned  to  his  second  brother,  and  sent  him  down 
to  the  cellar  to  bring  a  slice  from  one  of  the 
bodies.  The  brother  came  down,  took  hold  of 
one  body,  then  another,  and,  catching  me,  cut  a 
slice  from  the  end  of  my  back,  and  went  up  with 
it.  He  was  not  long  gone  when  he  came  down 
again,  raised  me  on  his  back,  and  turned  to  take 
me  with  him.  He  had  not  gone  many  steps  when 
I  sent  my  knife  to  his  heart,  and  there  he  fell 
on  his  face  under  me.  I  went  back,  and  lay  in 
my  old  place. 

"  The  chief  giant,  who  had  tasted  my  flesh  and 
was  anxious  for  more  of  it,  now  sent  the  youngest 
brother.  He  came,  saw  the  middle  brother  lying 
there,  and  cried  out,  — 

"'Oh,  but  you  are  the  lazy  messenger,  to  be 
sleeping  when  sent  on  an  errand! ' 

"With  that,  he  raised  me  on  his  back,  and  was 

1 1  o  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

going,  when  I  stabbed  him  and  stretched  him  on 
the  ground  not  far  from  his  brother. 

"  The  big  giant  waited  and  waited,  grew  angry, 
took  his  great  iron  club  with  nine  lumps  and 
nine  hooks  on  it.  He  hurried  down  to  the  cellar, 
saw  his  two  brothers,  shook  them,  found  them 
dead.  I  had  no  chance  of  life  but  to  fight  for  it ; 
I  rose  and  stood  a  fair  distance  in  front  of  the 
giant.  He  ran  toward  me,  raised  the  club,  and 
brought  it  down  with  what  strength  there  was  in 
him.  I  stepped  aside  quickly;  the  club  sank  in 
the  earth  to  the  depth  of  a  common  man's  knee. 
While  the  giant  was  drawing  the  club  with  both 
hands,  I  stabbed  him  three  times  in  the  stomach, 
and  sprang  away  to  some  distance.  He  ran  for- 
ward a  second  time,  and  came  very  near  hitting 
me;  again  the  club  sank  in  the  ground,  and  I 
stabbed  him  four  times,  for  he  was  weaker  from 
blood  loss,  and  was  a  longer  time  freeing  the 
club.  The  third  time  the  club  grazed  me,  and 
tore  my  whole  side  with  a  sharp  iron  hook.  The 
giant  fell  to  his  knees,  but  could  neither  rise 
nor  make  a  cast  of  the  club  at  me ;  soon  he  was 
on  his  elbow,  gnashing  his  teeth  and  raging.  I 
was  growing  weaker,  and  knew  that  I  was  lost 
unless  some  one  assisted  me.  The  young  woman 
had  come  down,  and  was  present  at  the  struggle. 
'  Run  now,'  said  I  to  her,  '  for  the  giant's  sword, 

Black  Tkief  and  King  Conal  's  Horses.    1 1 1 

and  take  the  head  off  him. '  She  ran  quickly, 
brought  the  sword,  and  as  brave  as  a  man  took 
the  head  off  the  giant. 

" '  Death  is  not  far  from  me  now, '  said  I. 

"'I  will  carry  you  quickly  to  the  giant's 
caldron  of  cure,  and  give  you  life,'  said  the 

"  With  that,  she  raised  me  on  her  back,  and 
hurried  out  of  the  cellar.  When  she  had  me 
on  the  edge  of  the  caldron,  the  death  faint  was 
on  me,  I  was  dying;  but  I  was  not  long  in  the 
pot  when  I  revived,  and  soon  was  as  well  as 

"  We  searched  the  whole  house  of  the  giants, 
found  all  their  treasures.  I  gave  some  to  the 
woman,  kept  some  myself,  and  hid  the  remainder. 
I  took  the  woman  home  to  her  father  and  mother. 
She  kept  the  child,  which  was  well  but  for  the  tip 
of  its  little  finger.  Now  was  n't  T  nearer'  death 
that  time  than  I  was  when  I  began  this  story?  " 

"You  were,  indeed,"  said  King  Conal;  "and 
even  if  you  were  not,  I  would  not  put  you  in  the 
pot,  for  if  you  had  not  been  in  the  house  of  the 
three  giants  that  day  there  would  be  no  sign  of  me 
now  in  this  castle.  I  was  that  child.  Look  here 
at  my  left  little  finger.  My  father  searched  for 
you,  and  so  did  I  when  I  grew  up,  but  we  could 
not  find  you.  We  made  out  only  one  thing,  that 

112  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

it  was  the  Black  Thief  who  saved  me.  Men  told 
me  that  the  Black  Thief  was  dead,  and  I  never 
hoped  to  see  you.  A  hundred  thousand  wel- 
comes! Now  we'll  have  a  feast.  The  three 
young  men  will  get  the  three  horses  for  your 
sake,  and  take  them  home  after  we  have  feasted 
together.  You  will  stay  with  me  now  for  the 
rest  of  your  life." 

"  I  must  go  with  the  young  men  as  far  as  my 
own  house,"  said  the  Black  Thief;  "then  I'll 
come  back  to  you." 

King  Conal  made  a  feast  the  like  of  which  had 
never  been  in  his  kingdom.  When  the  feast  was 
over,  he  gave  the  three  horses  to  the  young  men, 
and  said  at  parting,  "When  you  have  done  the 
work  with  the  horses,  let  them  go,  and  they  will 
run  home  to  me;  no  man  could  stop  them." 

"We  will  do  that,"  said  the  brothers. 

They  set  out  then  with  them,  stopped  one 
night  with  the  Black  Thief  at  his  house,  and 
after  that  travelled  home  to  their  father,  and 
stood  in  front  of  the  castle.  The  stepmother 
was  above,  watching  for  them.  She  was  glad 
when  she  saw  them,  and  said.  "Ye  brought  the 
horses,  and  I  am  to  have  them. " 

"If  we  were  bound  to  bring  the  horses,"  said 
the  elder  brother,  "we  were  not  bound  to  give 
them  to  you." 

Black  Thief  and  King  Conal  's  Horses.    1 1 3 

With  that,  he  turned  the  horses'  heads  from 
the  castle,  and  let  them  go.  They  ran  home  to 
King  Conal. 

"I  will  go  down  now,"  said  the  queen,  "and  it 
is  time  for  me." 

"You  will  not  go  yet,"  said  the  youngest;  "I 
have  a  sentence  which  I  had  no  time  to  give 
when  we  were  going.  I  put  you  under  sentence 
to  stay  where  you  are  till  you  find  three  sons  of 
a  king  to  go  again  to  King  Conal  for  the  horses." 

When  she  heard  that  sentence,  she  dropped 
dead  from  the  castle. 

THE    KING'S     SON     FROM     ERIN,    THE 

THERE  was  a  king  in  Erin  long  ago  who 
was  called  King  of  Lochlinn,  and  his  wife 
died.  He  had  two  sons.  The  elder  of  the  two 
was  Miach  Lay;  the  second  was  Manus.  Miach 
Lay  was  a  fine  champion,  and  trained  in  every 
art  that  befitted  a  king's  son. 

One  day  the  father  called  Miach  Lay  to  his 
presence,  and  said,  "  It  is  time  for  you  to  marry, 
and  I  have  chosen  for  you  a  maiden  of  great 
beauty  and  high  birth." 

"I  am  willing  to  marry,"  said  Miach  Lay. 

The  king  and  his  son  then  left  the  castle,  and 
went  to  the  house  of  the  young  woman's  father, 
and  there  they  spent  seven  days  and  seven 
nights.  On  their  way  home,  the  king  said  to 
his  son,  "How  do  you  like  the  young  lady? " 

"I  like  her  well,  but  I  '11  not  marry  her." 

"Oh,  my  shame!  "  said  the  father.  "How  can 
I  ever  face  those  people  a  second  time?  " 

"I  cannot  help  that,"  said  Miach  Lay. 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 1 5 

The  king  was  greatly  confused.  After  another 
while  he  said  to  his  son,  "  I  have  another  maiden 
chosen  for  you,  and  it  is  well  for  us  to  go  to  her 
father's,  and  settle  the  match." 

"I  am  willing,"  said  Miach  Lay. 

They  went  away  together,  and  never  stopped 
nor  stayed  till  they  reached  the  house  of  the 
young  lady's  father.  They  were  welcomed  there 
warmly,  and  spent  seven  days  and  seven  nights, 
and  were'  better  attended  each  day  than  the  day 

"Well,  my  son,"  asked  the  father,  "how  do 
you  like  this  match  ?  " 

"Well,  and  very  well,"  said  Miach  Lay;  "but  I 
will  not  marry  this  lady  either.  She  is  ten  times 
better  than  the  first;  and  if  I  had  married  the 
first,  I  could  not  marry  this  one,  and  so  I  will 
not  marry  the  second  any  more  than  the  first 

"  Oh,  my  shame !  "  said  the  father.  "  I  can 
never  show  my  face  to  these  people  again." 

After  another  while  the  king  told  Miach  Lay 
that  he  had  a  better  lady  than  ever  selected, 
and  asked  him  to  go  with  him  to  arrange  the 

"I  am  willing,"  answered  the  son. 

The  two  went  to  the  father  of  the  maiden; 
they  spent  seven  days  and  seven  nights  at  his 

1 1 6  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

house,  and  were  fully  satisfied  with  everything. 
They  were  on  the  way  home  a  third  time. 
"Well,"  said  the  king,  "you  have  no  reason  to 
refuse  this  time." 

"Well,  and  very  well,  do  I  like  the  match," 
said  Miach  Lay;  "but  I  will  not  marry  this  lady. 
If  I  had  married  the  first  lady,  I  should  have  had 
no  chance  of  getting  the  second,  and  the  second 
is  ten  times  better  than  the  first ;  if  I  had  mar- 
ried the  second  lady,  I  should  have  had  no  chance 
of  this  one,  and  she  is  twenty  times  better  than 
the  second." 

"I  have  lost  all  patience  with  you,"  said  the 
king,  "and  I  turn  the  back  of  my  hand  to  you 
from  this  out." 

"I  'm  fully  satisfied,"  said  Miach  Lay,  so  they 
came  home,  and  passed  that  night  without  con- 
versation. The  following  morning,  when  Miach 
Lay  rose,  he  said  to  his  father,  "  I  am  for  leav- 
ing the  house  now ;  will  you  prepare  for  me  the 
best  ship  that  you  have,  and  put  in  it  a  good 
store  of  provisions  for  a  long  voyage?" 

The  vessel  was  prepared,  and  fully  provisioned 
for  a  day  and  a  year.  The  king's  son  went  on 
board,  sailed  out  of  the  harbor,  and  off  to  sea. 
He  never  stopped  sailing  till  he  entered  a  harbor 
in  the  kingdom  of  Greece.  There  was  a  guard 
there  on  watch  at  the  harbor  with  a  keen  eye 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 1 7 

on  all  ships  that  were  passing  or  coming.  The 
King  of  Greece  was  at  war  in  that  time  with  the 
King  of  Spain,  and  knew  not  what  moment  his 
kingdom  would  be  invaded. 

The  guard  saw  the  vessel  coming  when  she 
was  so  small  to  the  eye  that  he  could  not  tell 
was  it  a  bird  or  a  vessel  that  he  was  looking  at. 
He  took  quick  tidings  to  the  castle;  and  the 
king  ordered  him  to  go  a  second  time  and  bring 
tidings.  When  he  reached  the  sea,  the  ship 
was  inside,  in  the  harbor. 

"  Oh,"  said  the  king,  when  the  guard  ran  to  him 
a  second  time,  "that  is  a  wonderful  vessel  that 
was  so  far  away  a  few  minutes  ago  as  not  to  be 
told  from  a  bird,  and  is  now  sailing  into  harbor." 

"There  is  but  one  man  to  be  seen  on  board," 
said  the  guard. 

In  front  of  the  king's  castle  was  the  landing- 
place,  the  only  one  of  the  harbor;  and  even  there 
no  one  went  beyond  the  shore  without  passing 
through  a  gate  where  every  man  had  to  give  an 
account  of  himself.  There  was  a  chosen  cham- 
pion guarding  the  gate,  who  spoke  to  Miach 
Lay,  and  asked,  "Who  are  you,  and  from  what 
country?  " 

"  It  is  not  the  custom  for  a  man  of  my  people  to 
answer  a  question  like  that  till  he  is  told  first  what 
country  he  is  in,  and  who  asks  the  question." 

1 1 8  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

"It  was  I  asked  the  question,"  said  the  cham- 
pion; "and  you  must  tell  me  who  you  are,  first 
of  all." 

"I  will  not  tell  you,"  said  Miach  Lay.  With 
that,  he  drew  his  ship  nearer  land  till  it  grounded  ; 
then,  taking  an  oar,  he  put  the  blade  end  in  the 
sand,  and  sprang  to  shore.  He  asked  then  the 
champion  at  the  gate  to  let  him  pass,  but  the 
champion  refused.  Miach  Lay  raised  his  hand, 
gave  him  a  blow  on  the  ear,  and  sent  him  back- 
ward spinning  like  a  top,  till  he  struck  the  pillar 
of  the  gate  and  broke  his  skull.  As  Miach  Lay 
had  no  thought  to  kill  the  man,  he  was  grieved, 
and,  delaying  a  short  time,  went  to  the  castle  of 
the  king,  not  knowing  what  country  he  was  in  or 
what  city. 

When  he  came  to  the  castle,  he  knelt  down  in 
front  of  it.  The  people  in  the  castle  saw  a 
young  champion  with  bared  head  outside;  the 
king  came  out,  and  asked  what  trouble  was  on 
him.  Miach  Lay  told  of  all  that  had  happened 
at  the  harbor,  and  how  he  had  killed  the  cham- 
pion at  the  gate  without  wishing  it. 

"Never  mind  that,"  said  the  king. 

"I  did  not  intend  to  kill  or  harm  him  at  all," 
said  Miach  Lay;  "he  wanted  to  know  who  I  was, 
and  from  what  country.  By  the  custom  of  my 
land,  I  cannot  tell  that  till  I  know  where  I  am, 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 1 9 

and  who  are  the  people  among  whom  I  am 

"  Do  you  know  now  where  you  are?  " 

"I  do  not,"  answered  Miach  Lay. 

"  You  are  in  front  of  the  castle  of  the  King  of 
Greece,  and  I  am  that  king. " 

"I  am  the  son  of  the  King  of  Lochlinn  from 
Erin,"  said  Miach  Lay,  "and  have  come  this  way 
to  seek  my  fortune." 

The  King  of  Greece  welcomed  him  then,  took 
the  young  champion  by  the  hand,  and  did  not 
stop  till  he  brought  him  to  where  all  the  princes 
and  nobles  were  assembled;  he  was  rejoiced  at 
his  coming,  for,  being  at  war,  he  expected  aid 
from  this  champion. 

"Will  you  remain  with  me  for  a  day  and  a 
year,"  asked  the  king,  "and  perform  what  ser- 
vice I  ask  of  you?  " 

"I  will,"  said  Miach  Lay 

Manus,  the  second  son  of  the  King  of  Loch- 
linn,  stopped  going  to  school  when  Miach  Lay, 
his  elder  brother,  left  home,  and,  after  a  time, 
the  father  wished  him  to  marry.  As  the  elder 
son  had  acted,  so  did  the  second;  he  refused  to 
marry  each  of  the  three  maidens  whom  the  king 
had  chosen,  and  left  his  father  at  last. 

Manus  was  watching  when  his  brother  sailed 
away,  and  noticed  the  course  of  the  vessel,  so 
now  he  sailed  the  same  way. 

I2O  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Miach  Lay  was  gaining  favor  continually;  and 
just  as  the  day  and  the  year  of  his  service  were 
out  to  a  month,  the  king's  guard  saw  a  vessel 
sailing  in  swiftly.  He  ran  with  tidings  to  the 
king,  and  added,  "There  is  only  one  man  on 
board. " 

The  king  and  the  nohles  said  it  was  best  not 
to  let  him  land  till  he  gave  an  account  of  him- 
self. Miach  Lay  was  sent  to  the  landing-place 
to  get  account  of  him. 

He  was  not  long  at  the  landing-place  when  the 
vessel  came  within  hailing,  and  Miach  Lay  asked 
the  one  man  on  board  who  was  he  and  from  what 
land  he  came.  The  man  would  not  tell,  as  it 
was  not  the  custom  in  his  country.  "But,"  said 
he,  "I  want  something  to  eat." 

"There  is  plenty  here,"  said  Miach  Lay;  "but 
if  there  is,  you  will  get  none  of  it,  —  you  would 
better  be  sailing  away." 

"  I  have  enough  of  the  sea;  I  '11  come  in." 

He  put  down  the  blade  of  his  oar,  and  sprang 
ashore.  No  sooner  had  he  touched  land  than  he 
was  grappled  by  Miach  Lay.  As  neither  man 
knew  the  other,  they  were  in  hand  grips  all  day. 
They  were  nearly  equal  in  strength,  but  at  last 
Miach  Lay  was  getting  the  worst  of  it.  He 
asked  Manus  for  a  truce. 

"I  will  grant  you  that,"  said  Manus;  "but  you 
do  not  deserve  it,  for  you  began  the  battle. " 

King  s  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 2 1 

They  sat  apart  then,  and  Miach  Lay  asked, 
"How  long  can  you  hold  out?  " 

"It  is  getting  stronger  and  braver  I  am," 
replied  Manus. 

"  Not  so  with  me.  I  could  not  hold  out  five 
minutes  longer,"  said  Miach  Lay.  "My  bones 
were  all  falling  asunder,  and  I  thought  the  earth 
was  trembling  beneath  me.  Till  this  day  I 
thought  to  myself,  '  There  is  no  champion  I 
cannot  conquer. '  Now  tell  me  your  name  and 
your  country." 

"I  am  from  Erin  and  a  son  of  the  King  of 
Lochlinn,"  said  Manus. 

"Oh,"  said  Miach  Lay,  "you  are  my  brother." 

"Are  you  Miach  Lay?  "  inquired  Manus. 


They  embraced  each  other,  and  sat  down  then 
to  eat.  Miach  Lay  was  so  tired  that  he  could 
taste  nothing,  but  Manus  ate  his  fill.  Then  they 
went  arm  in  arm  to  the  castle.  The  king  and  all 
the  nobles  of  Greece  had  seen  the  combat  from 
the  castle,  and  were  surprised  to  see  the  men 
coming  toward  them  in  such  friendliness,  and  all 
went  out  to  know  the  reason.  The  king  asked 
Miach  Lay,  "  How  is  all  this?  " 

"This  man  is  my  brother,"  said  Miach  Lay. 
"  I  left  him  at  home  in  Erin,  and  did  not  know 
him  at  the  harbor  till  after  the  combat." 

122  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  king  was  well  pleased  that  he  had  another 
champion.  The  following  day  Manus  saw  the 
king's  daughter,  and  fell  in  love  with  her  and 
she  with  him.  Then  the  daughter  told  the  king 
if  she  did  not  get  Manus  as  husband,  the  life 
would  leave  her. 

The  king  called  Miach  Lay  to  his  presence, 
and  asked,  "  Will  you  let  your  brother  marry  my 
daughter? " 

"  If  Manus  wishes  to  marry  her,  I  am  willing 
and  satisfied,"  answered  Miach  Lay.  He  asked 
his  brother,  and  Manus  said  he  would  marry  the 
king's  daughter. 

The  marriage  was  celebrated  without  delay,  and 
there  was  a  wedding  feast  for  three  days  and 
three  nights;  and  the  third  night,  when  they  were 
going  to  their  own  chamber,  the  king  said,  "This 
is  the  third  husband  married  to  my  daughter,  and 
after  the  first  night  no  tidings  could  be  had  of 
the  other  two,  and  from  that  time  to  this  no  one 
knows  where  they  are. " 

Miach  Lay  was  greatly  enraged  that  the  king 
had  permitted  the  marriage  without  mentioning 
this  matter  first. 

"I  will  do  to-night,"  said  the  king,  "what  has 
never  been  done  hitherto;  I  will  place  sentries 
all  around  the  grounds,  and  my  daughter  and 
Manus  will  not  lodge  in  the  castle  at  all,  but  in 
one  of  the  houses  apart  from  it." 

King  s  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 2  3 

"I  '11  watch  myself,"  said  Miach  Lay;  "and  if 
it  is  the  devil  that  is  taking  the  husbands,  I  '11 
not  let  him  take  my  brother." 

Sentries  were  stationed  in  all  parts;  a  house 
was  prepared  in  the  courtyard.  Miach  Lay  stood 
on  guard  at  the  entrance  all  the  time.  Soon 
after  midnight  a  gust  of  wind  blew  through  the 
yard;  it  blew  Miach  Lay  to  the  ground,  and  he 
fainted.  When  he  recovered,  he  rushed  to  search 
for  his  brother,  but  he  was  not  in  his  chamber. 
He  then  roused  the  king's  daughter,  and  asked, 
"Where  is  my  brother?  " 

"I  cannot  tell  where  he  is,"  said  she:  "it  is 
you  who  were  on  guard;  it  is  you  who  should 
know  where  to  find  him." 

"  I  will  have  your  head,  wicked  woman,  unless 
you  give  tidings  of  my  brother." 

"Do  not  take  my  head;  it  would  not  serve 
you.  I  have  no  account  of  what  happened  to 
your  brother." 

Miach  Lay  then  refrained  from  touching  her, 
and  waited  till  morning.  The  king  came  in  the 
morning  to  see  was  Manus  well;  and  when  Miach 
Lay  saw  him,  he  ran  at  him  to  destroy  him,  but 
the  king  fled  away.  After  a  while,  when  the 
household  was  roused,  the  king's  daughter  was 
brought  in  and  asked  where  was  her  husband,  or 
could  she  give  any  account  of  him. 

124  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  cannot  tell,"  replied  she;  "but  one  day 
before  I  was  married  the  first  time,  something 
came  to  my  chamber  window  in  the  form  of  a 
black  bee,  and  asked  would  I  let  it  in.  I  said 
that  I  would  not.  The  bee  remained  outside  all 
the  day,  watching  to  see  could  it  enter  my  cham- 
ber. I  did  not  let  it  come  in ;  before  going  away 
in  the  evening,  the  black  bee  said,  '  Well,  I  will 
worry  the  heart  in  you  yet. '  : 

The  king's  old  druid,  who  was  present,  slapped 
his  knee  with  his  hand,  and  said,  "  I  know  the 
story  now ;  that  was  Ri  Doracha  (the  Dark  King). 
He  is  a  mighty  magician,  and  it  is  he  who  has 
taken  the  husbands." 

"I  will  travel  the  world  till  I  find  my  lost 
brother,"  said  Miach  Lay. 

"I  will  go  with  you,  and  take  all  my  forces," 
said  Red  Bow,  the  son  of  the  King  of  Greece. 

"I  need  no  assistance,"  said  Miach  Lay.  ."If 
I  myself  cannot  find  him,  I  think  that  no  man 
can;  but  if  you  wish  to  come,  you  are  welcome." 

Miach  Lay  went  to  his  vessel;  and  Red  Bow 
chose  the  best  ship  from  all  that  his  father  had, 
and  went  on  board  of  it.  The  two  ships  sailed 
away  together.  In  time  they  neared  land;  and 
on  reaching  the  mouth  of  the  harbor,  they  saw  a 
third  ship  sailing  toward  them  as  swiftly  as  the 
wind  blew,  and  it  was  not  long  till  it  came  along- 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 25 

side.  There  was  only  one  man  on  board;  he 
hailed  Miach  Lay,  and  asked,  "Where  are  you 

"  It  would  not  be  the  custom  of  my  country  for 
me  to  tell  you  what  you  ask  till  you  tell  me  who 
you  are  yourself,  and  where  your  own  journey 

"I  know  myself,"  said  the  warrior,  "where 
you  are  going;  you  are  in  search  of  the  Dark 
King,  and  I  myself  would  like  to  see  him." 

With  that,  he  took  a  bundle  of  branches  he  had 
on  deck,  and  blew  them  overboard.  Then  every 
rod  and  twig  of  the  bundle  became  an  enormous 
log  of  wood,  so  that  the  harbor  was  covered  with 
one  raft  of  timber,  and  then  he  sailed  away  with- 
out waiting. 

After  much  struggling  with  the  logs,  shoving 
them  hither  and  over,  Miach  Lay  was  able  by 
pushing  with  oars  to  make  room  for  his  vessel, 
and  at  last  came  to  land.  Red  Bow  and  his  men 
were  cast  into  deep  sleep  by  the  man  on  the 
vessel  that  had  sailed  away. 

After  Miach  Lay  landed,  he  passed  through 
a  great  stretch  of  wild  country,  and,  drawing 
near  a  large  forest,  saw  rising  up  a  small,  slen- 
der smoke  far  in  among  trees.  He  made  for 
the  place  where  the  smoke  was,  and  there  he 
discovered  a  large,  splendid  castle  in  the  depth 

126  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

of  the  forest,  but  could  find  no  sign  of  an 

When  Miach  Lay  had  stood  outside  some 
time,  a  young  woman  looked  through  the  win- 
dow, hailed  him,  and  said,  "You  are  a  stran- 
ger, and  will  find  no  lodgings  in  these  parts; 
but  if  I  could  at  all,  I  would  let  you  come  in 

"Open  the  window  if  you  are  able,"  said  Miach 

The  window  had  hinges,  and  she  opened  it  in 
the  middle;  he  stepped  backward  nine  yards,  and 
went  in  at  one  bound  to  the  chamber. 

"You  are  welcome,"  said  she,  and  soon  she  had 
dinner  prepared  for  him.  When  he  had  eaten, 
she  inquired  who  was  he,  from  what  place  had  he 
come,  and  what  brought  him  that  way. 

He  told  her  all  that  had  happened  to  him  from 
the  first;  and  when  he  had  finished,  he  said,  "I 
know  not  where  to  find  my  brother. " 

"You  are  not  far  from  him  now,"  said  she; 
"  't  is  in  this  country  he  is  living,  and  the  land 
he  is  in  bounds  our  land." 

When  they  had  talked  long,  she  said,  "You  are 
tired  and  need  rest,  so  sleep  in  this  chamber." 
She  went  then  to  her  own  place.  The  following 
morning  his  breakfast  was  ready  before  him ;  and 
after  he  had  eaten,  the  young  woman  said,  "  I 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 2 7 

suppose  you  will  be  thankful  if  I  tell  you  where 
to  find  the  castle  of  the  Dark  King." 

"  I  shall,  indeed,"  said  he.  Then  she  gave  him 
full  directions  how  to  go.  He  took  his  sword 
then,  and  sprang  out  as  he  had  sprung  in,  in  the 
evening,  and  went  in  the  direction  which  she 
told  him  to  take.  About  midday  he  met  a  man, 
who  hailed  him,  and  asked,  "Who  are  you,  and 
from  what  country?" 

"  'T  is  not  the  custom  for  a  man  of  my  country 
to  answer  that  question  till  told  where  he  is, 
and  to  whom  he  is  speaking." 

"  I  know  who  you  are  and  whither  you  are 
going.  You  are  going  to  the  castle  of  the  Dark 
King,  and  here  he  is  before  you ;  now  show  your 

They  made  at  each  other;  and  if  they  did,  they 
made  soft  ground  hard  and  hard  ground  soft, 
they  made  high  places  low  and  low  places  high, 
they  brought  cold  spring  water  through  dry, 
gravelly  places,  and  if  any  one  were  to  come  from 
the  Eastern  to  the  Western  World,  it  is  to  look 
at  these  two  he  should  come. 

They  were  this  way  till  evening,  and  neither 
had  the  better  of  the  other.  Miach  Lay  was 
equal  to  the  Dark  King;  but  the  Dark  King, 
having  magic,  blew  a  gust  of  wind  at  Miach  Lay 
which  knocked  him  flat  on  the  earth,  and  left 

128  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

him  half  dead.  Then  the  Dark  King  took  Miach 
Lay's  sword,  and  went  away.  When  he  recovered, 
Miach  Lay  regretted  his  sword  more  than  all  else, 
and  went  back  to  the  castle  where  he  had  spent 
the  night  before.  He  was  barely  able  to  go  in 
at  the  window. 

"How  have  you  fared  this  day?"  asked  the 
young  woman. 

He  told  her  of  all  that  had  happened. 

"Be  not  grieved;  you  will  meet  him  another 
time,"  said  the  young  woman. 

"  What  is  the  use  ?     I  have  no  sword  now. " 

"If  't  is  a  sword  you  need,  I  will  bring  you  a 
blade  far  better  than  the  one  which  the  Dark 
King  took  from  you." 

After  breakfast  next  morning  she  brought  him 
her  father's  sword,  which  he  grasped  in  his  hand, 
and  shook.  Miach  Lay  bade  farewell  to  the 
young  woman,  and  sprang  out  through  the  window. 
Knowing  the  way  better  this  time,  he  hastened 
forward,  and  met  the  Dark  King  just  where  he 
met  him  before. 

"  Did  not  yesterday  tire  you?  "  asked  the  king. 

"No,"  said  Miach  Lay. 

"Your  journey  is  useless,"  said  the  king. 

"We  shall  see,"  answered  Miach  Lay,  and  they 
made  at  each  other;  and  terrible  as  the  battle 
was  on  the  first  day,  it  was  more  terrible  on  the 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 29 

second ;  but  when  the  Dark  King  thought  it 
time  to  go  home,  he  blew  a  gust  of  wind  which 
threw  Miach  Lay  to  the  earth,  and  left  him  sense- 
less. The  Dark  King  did  not  take  the  sword 
this  time. 

After  the  Dark  King  had  gone,  another  man 
came  the  way,  who  was  called  Sprisawn  Wooden 

"Well,  my  good  man,  you  are  nearly  dead," 
said  the  Sprisawn. 

"I  am,"  said  Miach  Lay,  rousing  up. 

"You  are  his  equal  but  for  the  magic.  I 
watched  the  combat  these  two  days,  and  you 
would  have  overcome  him  but  for  his  magic;  he 
will  finish  you  to-night  if  he  finds  you.  He  has 
three  magic  tricksters  who  are  leaving  his  house 
at  this  moment.  They  have  a  spear  which  the 
rear  man  of  the  three  hurls  forward,  the  trickster 
in  front  catches  the  spear  in  the  heel  of  his  foot, 
and  in  turn  hurls  it  with  all  his  force  forward; 
those  behind  rush  ahead  of  the  front  man,  and 
in  turn  catch  the  spear  in  their  heels.  No  matter 
how  far  nor  how  often  the  spear  is  thrown  for- 
ward, there  is  always  a  man  there  before  it  to 
catch  it.  They  are  rushing  hither  a  long  distance 

1  Sprisawn,  in  Gaelic  spriosan,  a  small  twig,  and,  figuratively,  a 
poor  little  creature,  a  sorry  little  fellow. 


130  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  Sprisawn  saw  the  tricksters  approach,  and 
told  Miach  Lay  that  they  were  coming.  When 
they  came  within  a  spear-cast,  one  of  them  hurled 
the  spear  at  Miach  Lay;  it  went  through  his 
heart,  passed  out  through  his  body,  and  killed 

When  the  Sprisawn  saw  Miach  Lay  lying  dead, 
he  fell  to  weeping  and  wailing;  and  so  loud  was 
his  wail  that  every  one  heard  it  throughout  the 
whole  kingdom.  Red  Bow  was  sleeping  yet  in 
the  harbor;  but  so  loud  was  the  wail  of  the 
mourning  Sprisawn  that  it  roused  him  from  the 
slumber  which  the  Dark  King  had  put  on  him. 
He  landed  at  once  with  his  forces,  and  made  on 
toward  the  wailing.  When  they  came  to  the 
place,  and  saw  Miach  Lay  lying  dead,  they  them- 
selves began  to  wail ;  they  asked  the  Sprisawn 
then,  "Are  there  any  means  by  which  we  might 
raise  him  to  life?  " 

"There  are,"  replied  the  Sprisawn.  "The 
Dark  King  is  rejoicing  now  in  his  castle  with 
the  King  of  Mangling,  and  the  Gruagach  of 
Shields.  They  are  drinking  each  other's  health 
from  a  horn,  and  the  Dark  King  is  telling  the 
other  two  that  Miach  Lay  was  the  best  man  that 
ever  stood  in  front  of  him ;  and  if  he  could  drink 
from  that  horn,  he  would  rise  up  as  well  as  he 
ever  was. " 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    131 

"I  with  my  men  will  go  for  that  horn,"  said 
Red  Bow. 

"Not  you  nor  all  the  men  like  you  living 
on  earth  could  bring  that  horn  from  the  castle 
of  the  Dark  King,"  replied  the  Sprisawn.  "That 
castle  is  surrounded  by  three  walls.  Each  wall 
is  four  feet  in  thickness  and  twenty  feet  high. 
Each  wall  has  a  gate  as  high  and  as  thick  as  the 
wall  is  itself.  How  could  you  pass  through  those 
walls?  Remain  here  and  watch  over  this  body; 
I  will  bring  the  horn  hither  myself." 

Off  went  the  Sprisawn,  and  he  had  more  control 
over  magic  than  even  the  Dark  King.  When  he 
arrived  at  the  castle,  he  struck  the  gate  with  the 
heel  of  his  wooden  foot  and  it  opened  before 
him ;  the  second  and  third  gate  opened  too,  in 
like  manner,  when  he  struck  them.  In  he 
went  to  the  room  where  the  king  and  his  two 
friends  were  drinking.  There  he  found  them 
raising  toasts  to  each  other.  He  was  himself 
invisible.  As  soon  as  they  rested  the  horn  on 
the  table,  he  snatched  it  and  made  off  for  the 
place  where  Miach  Lay  was  lying  dead.  Then 
Red  Bow  and  his  men  raised  up  the  dead  man, 
and  poured  down  his  throat  some  of  the  wine  or 
whatever  liquor  was  held  in  the  horn. 

After  a  time  Miach  Lay  opened  his  eyes,  and 
yawned.  They  were  all  so  delighted  that  they 
raised  three  shouts  of  joy. 

132  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Come  on  with  me  now,"  said  the  Sprisawn, 
"to  the  castle  of  the  Dark  King.  We  will  have  a 
trial  of  strength  with  him.  I  will  take  the  Dark 
King  in  hand  myself.  Do  you,  Miach  Lay,  take 
the  King  of  Mangling,  and  you,  Red  Bow,  take 
the  Gruagach  of  Shields." 

"This  will  be  very  good  for  us  to  keep,"  said 
Red  Bow,  when  he  saw  the  virtue  of  the  horn. 

"No,"  said  the  Sprisawn;  "it  is  good  for  the 
man  who  owns  it,  and  I  will  return  it." 

The  Sprisawn,  who  could  travel  as  swiftly  as 
his  own  thought,  vanished  with  the  horn,  placed 
it  on  the  table  from  which  he  had  snatched  it, 
and  came  back  to  the  others.  No  one  had  missed 
the  horn ;  when  they  turned  to  use  it,  it  was  there 
on  the  table  before  them,  in  the  chamber  of  the 
Dark  King.  Miach  Lay  and  his  friends  went 
on  together,  and  never  stopped  till  they  stood 
in  the  chamber  where  the  Dark  King  was  sitting 
with  his  friends.  The  gates  had  remained  open 
since  the  Sprisawn  opened  them.  When  the 
Dark  King  saw  the  dead  man  alive,  standing  in 
his  chamber  before  him,  he  said,  "  Never  a  wel- 
come to  you,  you  miserable  creature  with  the 
wooden  foot.  What  brought  you  hither,  or  how 
did  you  come?  " 

"I  have  come  to  you  with  combat,"  said  the 
Sprisawn;  "and  now  do  you  choose  the  manner 
of  fighting." 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 33 

In  the  castle  were  three  chambers,  in  each 
chamber  a  cross-beam  as  high  from  the  floor 
as  a  man's  throat;  in  the  middle  of  each  cross- 
beam was  a  hole,  through  this  hole  passed  a 
chain,  at  each  end  of  the  chain  was  an  iron  loop; 
above  the  hole  and  lengthwise  with  the  beam 
was  a  sword  with  a  keen  edge  on  it.  Each  pair 
of  champions  was  to  take  one  room  of  the  three, 
and  each  man  of  them  was  to  place  a  loop  on  his 
own  neck;  each  then  was  to  pull  the  other  to  the 
hole  if  he  could,  and  then  pull  till  the  sword  cut 
his  head  off. 

The  Sprisawn  and  the  Dark  King  took  one 
room,  Miach  Lay  and  the  King  of  Mangling 
another,  Red  Bow  and  the  Gruagach  of  Shields 
took  the  third. 

The  first  pair  were  not  long  at  each  other,  as 
the  Sprisawn  was  greatly  anxious  for  the  other 
two,  and  with  the  second  pull  that  he  gave  he 
had  the  head  off  the  Dark  King.  He  ran  then 
to  see  how  it  fared  with  Miach  Lay.  Miach  Lay 
was  tired  and  nearly  beaten. 

"Come  out  of  that  for  me,"  said  the  Sprisawn. 
"What  playing  is  it  you  have  with  him?  " 

"Fully  satisfied  am  I  to  give  this  place  to 
you,"  said  Miach  Lay,  raising  the  loop;  and  the 
Sprisawn  put  it  quickly  on  his  own  neck. 

With  the  first  pull  the  Sprisawn  gave  he  had 

1 34  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  head  off  the  King  of  Mangling.  They  ran 
then  to  Red  Bow,  whose  head  was  within  two 
feet  of  the  sword. 

"Go  on  out  of  this,"  said  the  Sprisawn,  putting 
the  loop  on  his  own  neck.  The  Gruagach,  by 
reason  of  having  Red  Bow  so  near  the  beam,  was 
himself  at  a  distance,  but  at  the  first  pull  which 
the  Sprisawn  gave  he  drew  the  Gruagach  within 
a  foot  of  the  beam.  Fearing  that  if  he  killed 
the  third  man  there  would  be  no  one  to  give  an 
account  of  those  carried  off  by  the  Dark  King, 
the  Sprisawn  offered  the  Gruagach  his  life  if  he 
told  him  where  Manus  and  the  other  two  hus- 
bands of  the  king's  daughter  were. 

"If  I  tell  you  that,"  said  the  Gruagach,  "the 
Dark  King  will  knock  the  head  off  me." 

"  If  you  saw  the  head  of  the  Dark  King  would 
you  tell  me  ?  " 

"I  would." 

The  Sprisawn  sent  Miach  Lay  for  the  head  of 
the  Dark  King ;  he  brought  it. 

"  Is  that  his  head  ?  "  asked  the  Sprisawn. 

"It  is,"  said  the  Gruagach. 

"Well,  tell  me  now." 

"Were  I  to  tell  you,"  said  the  Gruagach,  "the 
King  of  Mangling  would  knock  the  head  off 

"  If  you  saw  his  head  would  you  tell  me  ?  " 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    135 

"I  would." 

The  head  of  the  King  of  Mangling  was  brought. 

"Is  this  the  head?" 

"It  is." 

"Well,  tell  me,  or  you  '11  lose  your  own  head." 

"Near  this  castle  is  a  lake,"  said  the  Grua- 
gach,  "and  under  its  water  is  an  enchanted 
steel  tower,  with  high  walls  three  feet  in  thick- 
ness; around  that  tower  on  the  outside  a  long 
serpent  has  wound  herself  closely  from  the  bottom 
to  the  top.  This  serpent  is  called  the  Worm  of 
Nine  Eyes.  Inside  in  the  tower  are  the  three 

"  And  how  can  we  come  at  them  ?  "  asked  the 

"Whoever  wants  to  free  them,"  said  the 
Gruagach,  "  must  stand  on  the  shore  of  the  lake 
and  shout  to  the  serpent,  calling  her  the  Worm 
of  Nine  Eyes.  Hearing  this,  the  serpent  will 
unwind,  and  with  lashing  will  drive  all  the  water 
of  the  lake  in  showers  through  the  country  and 
flood  the  whole  land.  The  basin  of  the  lake  will 
be  dry  then,  and  the  serpent  will  rush  at  the  man 
who  uttered  the  insult  and  try  to  devour  him. 
The  serpent  must  be  killed,  and  the  champion 
must  run  to  the  tower;  if  he  can  break  in,  he 
will  rescue  the  three  men." 

"Is  that  all?  "  asked  the  Sprisawn. 

136  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  It  is,"  said  the  Gruagach.  "  I  have  no  further 
account  of  the  matter;  that  is  all  I  know." 

"Then  you  '11  lose  your  head,  too,"  said  the 
Sprisawn;  and  with  one  pull  of  the  chain  he 
swept  the  head  off  the  Gruagach.  The  three 
champions  went  to  the  lake  then.  Miach  Lay 
and  Red  Bow  wished  to  help  the  Sprisawn,  but  he 
forced  them  to  remain  behind,  saying  that  they 
would  be  swept  away  by  the  waters  if  they  went. 

The  Sprisawn,  coming  to  the  bank  of  the  lake, 
shouted:  "Worm  of  Nine  Eyes!"  No  sooner 
did  the  serpent  hear  the  name  than  she  uncoiled 
from  the  tower,  lashed  the  lake,  and  sent  the 
water  over  the  country.  When  the  lake  bed  was 
dry  the  serpent  rushed  toward  the  Sprisawn  with 
open  mouth.  When  the  Sprisawn  saw  the  ser- 
pent he  took  his  sword  in  both  hands  and  held 
it  crosswise  in  front  of  his  face,  and  when  the 
serpent  was  coming  to  swallow  him  so  great  was 
the  force  with  which  she  rushed  forward  and 
sucked  the  air  to  draw  him  in,  that  the  Sprisawn 
split  her  in  two  from  the  mouth  to  the  tail, 
dividing  the  back  from  the  belly,  and  the  two 
pieces  fell  apart  like  the  two  halves  of  a  split 
log  'of  timber. 

Miach  Lay  and  Red  Bow  came  then  to  the 
Sprisawn  and  went  to  the  tower,  but  if  they  did, 
they  could  not  go  in. 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 3 7 

"Oh,"  said  the  Sprisawn,  "if  you  had  all  the 
arms  in  the  world  you  could  not  break  through 
that  tower."  He  went  himself  to  the  door  then, 
and  striking  it  slightly  with  his  wooden  foot,  for 
fear  of  killing  the  men  inside  by  too  hard  a  blow, 
he  burst  in  the  door.  The  three  men  inside 
came  out,  and  Miach  Lay  embraced  his  own 
brother.  All  were  glad,  and  all  started  for  home, 
but  had  not  gone  far  when  the  other  two  men 
began  to  dispute  whose  would  the  king's  daugh- 
ter be.  The  first  husband  said  his  claim  was 
strongest;  the  second  said  his  was.  The  Spris- 
awn tried  to  settle  the  quarrel,  but  could  not. 
"I  would  advise  you,"  said  he,  "to  leave  the 
matter  to  the  first  man  you  meet." 

All  agreed  to  do  this. 

The  Sprisawn  now  left  them  and  vanished  as 
if  he  had  never  been  with  them.  They  had  not 
gone  far  when  they  met  a  man.  "Well  met," 
said  they;  "we  are  glad  to  see  you." 

"What  is  the  trouble  that  is  on  you?"  asked 
the  man. 

"So  and  so,"  said  they,  telling  him  the  whole 
story;  "and  now  you  are  to  be  our  judge." 

"I  will  do  my  best,"  said  the  man,  "if  each 
one  will  be  satisfied  with  my  decision." 

"We  will,"  said  they. 

Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Now  let  each  man  tell  his  story." 

Each  man  told  his  story  to  the  end. 

"  Who  rescued  you  ?  "  asked  he. 

"Miach  Lay  and  his  forces,"  said  they. 

"  Had  not  this  man  and  his  forces  come,  you 
would  have  been  there  till  this  time?  " 

"We  should,"  said  the  three. 

"If  so,"  said  the  man,  "my  decision  is  that 
the  first  and  second  husband  should  each  be 
thankful,  go  to  his  own  people,  and  get  another 
wife  for  himself;  and  that  the  daughter  of  the 
King  of  Greece  belongs  to  the  brother  of  the 
man  who  rescued  all  three." 

The  two  princes  went  away  toward  their  own 
homes,  and  the  man  remained,  and  who  was  he 
when  he  took  his  own  form  again  but  the 
Sprisawn.  They  went  then  to  the  castle  where 
the  young  lady  had  entertained  Miach  Lay,  and 
whose  castle  was  it  but  the  Sprisawn's;  the 
young  woman  was  his  daughter.  After  resting 
there  for  some  days,  the  Sprisawn  asked  Miach 
Lay  would  he  marry  his  daughter.  Miach  Lay 
was  willing  and  glad,  and  remained  there. 

Manus  and  Red  Bow  returned  to  the  King  of 
Greece.  Manus  lived  in  Greece  happily,  and  so 
did  his  children. 

The  two  brothers   did  well  not  to  marry  any 

Kings  Son,  Sprisawn,  and  Dark  King.    1 39 

woman  their  father  found  for  them,  for  they 
would  not  have  had  the  grand  ladies  that  they 
had  in  the  end,  and  Miach  Lay  had  the  domin- 
ions of  the  Dark  King,  as  well  as  those  of  the 
Sprisawn,  and  they  were  very  rich  kingdoms. 


/^\N  a  time  in  Erin  the  King  of  Leinster 
resolved  to  make  war  on  the  King  of 
Munster,  and  sent  him  a  message  to  be  ready  for 
battTe^on  a  day  mentioned.  They  raised  flags 
for  combat  when  the  day  came,  and  stood  face 
to  face.  The  forces  closed  in  battle,  and  were 
at  one  another  then  till  the  King  of  Leinster 
and  his  men'  killed  all  the  warriors  of  the  King 
of  Munster  and  the  king;  himself. 

After  the  King  of  Munster  and  all  his  cham- 
pions were  slain,  the  King  of  Leinster  thought 
it  better  to  live  in  Munster  than  in  his  own 
kingdom,  so  he  took  possession  of  Munster  and 
went  to  live  in  the  king's  castle. 

The  wife  of  the  King  of  Munster  fled  in  haste 
to  a  forest,  a  thing  easily  done,  for  all  Erin  was 
under  forests  in  that  time.  The  queen  had  a 
son  in  the  forest,  and  after  a  time  she  had  no 
clothes  for  herself  or  the  child.  Hair  came  out 
on  them  as  on  wild  beasts  of  the  wilderness. 
The  child  was  thriving  and  growing;  what  of 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    141 

him  did  not  grow  in  the  day  grew  threefold  at 
night,  till  at  last  there  was  no  knowing  what 
size  was  he. 

The  queen  was  seven  years  without  leaving  the 
place  around  her  hut  in  the  forest.  In  the  eighth 
year  she  went  forth  from  the  forest  and  saw  her 
husband's  castle  and  open  kingdom,  and  began 
to  weep  and  lament.  There  was  a  great  crowd 
of  people  around  the  castle  where  she  had  herself 
lived  in  past  years.  She  went  to  see  what  was 
happening.  It  was  a  summer  of  great  want,  and 
the  king  was  giving  out  doles  of  meal  to  people 
daily,  and  the  man  who  was  giving  the  meal  gave 
her  a  dole  also.  He  was  greatly  surprised  when 
he  saw  her,  and  in  the  evening  he  was  telling  the 
king  that  he  had  never  seen  such  a  sight  in  his 
life;  she  was  all  covered  with  hair  like  a  beast 
of  the  forest. 

"She  will  come  again  to-morrow,"  said  the 
king;  "then  do  you  inquire  what  sort  is  she,, 
and  where  is  her  place  of  abode." 

She  went  next  day  to  the  castle;  the  man  in 
charge  gave  her  meal.  After  she  had  gone  he 
followed  her,  and  when  he  was  coming  near  she 
sat  down  at  the  roadside  from  shame. 

"Fear  me  not,"  said  the  man.  "I  wish  to 
know  if  you  are  of  the  dead  or  the  living,  and 
what  sort  are  you." 

142  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  I  am  a  living  person,  though  I  may  seem  like 
one  from  the  dead." 

"Where  do  you  live?" 

"  I  have  no  house  or  home  save  a  small  hut  in 
the  forest,  and  I  have  the  look  of  a  beast  because 
I  eat  fruits  and  leaves  of  trees  and  grass  of  the 

The  man  told  the  king,  and  the  king  said, 
"  Tell  the  woman  to-morrow  that  I  will  give  her 
a  house  of  some  kind  to  live  in." 

The  king  gave  the  strange  woman  a  house,  and 
she  went  to  live  with  her  son  in  it.  The  son 
was  seven  years  old  at  that  time,  and  not  able 
to  walk  or  speak,  although  he  was  larger  than 
any  giant.  His  mother  had  called  him  Micky, 
and  soon  he  was  known  as  Micky  Mor  (Big 

She  was  there  for  awhile  in  the  house  with 
her  son,  and  she  taking  doles  of  food  like  any 
poor  person.  One  fine  summer  day  she  was 
sitting  at  the  doorstep,  and  she  began  to  weep 
and  lament. 

"What  is  the  cause  of  your  crying?"  asked 
the  boy,  who  had  never  spoken  before  till  that 
moment.  f 

"God's  help  be  with  us,"  said  the  mother. 
"  It  is  time  for  you  to  get  speech.  Thank  God 
you  are  able  to  talk  now." 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    143 

"  It  is  never  too  late,  mother." 

"That  is  right,  my  child,"  said  she,  "it  is 
better  late  than  never." 

"  Tell  me,  mother,  why  do  you  cry  in  this  way 
and  lament  ?  " 

"It  is  no  use  for  me  to  tell  you,  my  child; 
three  men  have  just  gone  back  to  the  strand, 
and  once  I  was  able  to  give  the  like  of  them  a 
good  warm  dinner." 

"Well,  mother,  you  must  go  and  invite  them 
to  dinner  this  time." 

"What  have  I  to  give  them  to  eat,  my  poor 

"  If  you  have  nothing  to  give  them  but  only 
to  be  talking  till  morning,  you  will  have  to  go 
and  invite  them." 

When  she  was  ready  he  said :  "  Mother,  before 
you  go  tie  my  two  hands  to  the  beam  that  is  here 
in  the  house  above  the  hearth,  that  I  may  not  fall 
in  the  fire  while  you  are  absent." 

Before  the  mother  went  out  she  passed  a  rope 
under  his  arms,  tied  him  to  the  cross-beam,  and 
put  a  stool  under  his  feet.  He  kicked  the  stool 
away;  he  had  to  pull  and  drag  himself  to  swing, 
the  fire  was  catching  his  feet,  the  beam  was 
cracking  from  his  weight  and  the  swinging. 
The  sinews  of  his  legs  stretched,  he  got  his 
footing  then,  and  walked  to  the  door. 

144  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Thanks  be  to  God,"  said  the  mother,  when 
she  came  back.  "  It  is  curious  how  your  talk 
and  your  walk  came  to  you  on  the  one  day." 

"It  is  nearly  always  the  case  that  't  is  together 
talk  and  walk  come  to  a  child;  but  now  it  is  time 
for  us  to  be  providing  something  for  the  friends 
that  are  coming  to-night." 

He  went  away  then  and  asked  the  man  who 
brought  turf  out  of  the  reeks  to  the  king's  cas- 
tle to  give  him  as  much  as  would  make  fire  for 
himself  and  his  mother  for  the  night. 

"Go  away,"  said  the  man;  "I  will  not  give 
you  a  sod  of  turf.  Go  to  the  king  and  get  an 
order;  then  I  will  give  you  turf  in  plenty." 

"  I  would  not  be  tiring  myself  going  for  an 
order,  but  I  will  have  plenty  in  spite  of  you." 

Micky  took  away  then  a  great  basket  of  turf 
and  no  thanks  to  the  man. 

"Well,  mother,"  said  he,  "here  is  turf  enough 
for  you,  and  make  down  a  good  fire." 

He  went  to  the  mill  and  said  to  the  miller: 
"  My  mother  sent  me  for  flour.  There  will  be 
three  at  the  house  to-night,  and  what  will  not  be 
used  will  be  brought  to  you  in  the  morning." 

"  You  stump  of  a  fool,  why  should  I  give  you 
flour?  Go  to  my  master,  the  king;  if  he  gives 
an  order,  I  will  give  you  flour  in  plenty." 

Micky  caught  the  miller.      "I  will  put  you," 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    145 

said  he,  "  in  one  of  the  hoppers  of  the  mill 
unless  you  make  away  with  yourself  out  of 

The  miller  ran  away  in  dread  that  Micky  would 
kill  him.  Micky  laid  hold  of  a  strong,  weighty 
chain,  and  tied  a  great  sack  of  flour  and  put  it 
on  his  back.  When  the  sack  was  across  his  back 
he  could  not  pass  through  the  doorway,  and  knew 
not  what  to  do. 

"  It  would  be  a  shame  for  me  to  say  of  the 
first  load  I  put  on  my  back  that  I  left  that  same 
after  me. "  He  stepped  backward  some  paces  and 
made  such  a  rush  that  he  carried  out  the  frame  of 
the  door  with  him. 

"Well,  mother,"  said  he,  "we  have  fire  and 
flour  enough  now,  and  let  you  be  making  loaves 
for  the  visitors." 

He  went  next  to  the  woman  in  charge  of  the 
milk-house.  "It  is  hither  my  mother  sent  me 
for  a  firkin  of  butter.  There  are  three  strangers 
above  in  our  house.  What  will  be  left  of  the 
butter  I  will  bring  back  in  the  morning,  and  all 
my  own  help  and  assistance  to  you  for  a  week 
to  come." 

"Be  out  of  my  milk-house,  you  stump  of  a 
fool,"  said  the  woman.  "What  assistance  can 
you  give  to  pay  for  my  milk  and  butter? " 

"Let  you  be  out  of  this,   my  good  woman," 


Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

said  Micky,  "or  I  will  not  leave  much  life  in  you 
from  this  day  out." 

She  went  away  in  a  hurry,  and  he  carried  a 
firkin  of  butter  home  on  his  shoulder. 

"Now,  mother,"  said  he,  "you  have  bread, 
fire,  butter,  and  all  things  you  need.  If  we  had 
a  bit  of  meat,  that  would  be  all  that  we  care 

He  went  away  then  and  never  stopped  nor 
stayed  till  he  reached  the  place  where  all  the 
king's  fine  fat  sheep  were.  He  caught  up  one 
and  brought  it  home  on  his  shoulder. 

Next  day  the  turf-keeper,  the  miller,  the  dairy- 
woman,  and  the  shepherd  went  to  complain  to 
the  king  of  what  Micky  had  done. 

"  It  is  not  luck  we  asked  for  the  first  day  we 
drew  him  on  us,"  said  the  king. 

The  king  started  and  never  stopped  nor  stayed 
till  he  went  to  his  old  druid.  "Such  a  man  as 
we  have  brought  on  us,"  said  the  king.  "Tell 
me  now  how  to  put  an  end  to  him." 

"There  is,"  said  the  druid,  "a  black  mad  hound 
in  a  wood  beyond  the  mountain.  Tell  Micky 
that  you  lost  that  hound  one  day  in  the  hunt, 
and  to  bring  her  and  he  will  be  well  paid  for 
his  trouble." 

The  king  sent  for  Micky,  and  told  him  all  as 
the  druid  advised. 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    147 

"  Will  you  send  any  man  with  me  to  show  me 
the  road  ?  " 

"I  will,"  said  the  king. 

Micky  and  the  man  were  soon  travelling  along 
the  road  toward  the  mountain.  When  Micky 
thought  it  too  slow  the  man  was  walking,  he 
asked,  "  Have  you  any  walk  better  than  that  ?  " 

"Why,  then,  I  have  not,"  said  the  man,  "and 
I  am  tired,  and  it  is  because  I  have  such  a  good 
walk  that  I  was  sent  with  you."  „ 

Micky  took  up  his  guide,  put  him  under  his 
arm,  with  the  man's  head  near  his  own  breast, 
and  they  began  to  talk  as  Micky  moved  forward. 
When  they  came  near  the  wood,  the  man  said, 
"Put  me  down,  and  beware  of  the  hound.  Be 
not  rash  with  her,  or  she  may  harm  you. " 

"  If  she  is  a  hound  belonging  to  a  king  or  a 
man  of  high  degree,  it  must  be  that  she  has 
training  and  will  come  with  me  quietly.  If  she 
will  not  come  gently,  I  will  make  her  come  in 
spite  of  her." 

When  he  went  into  the  wood  the  hound  smelt 
him  and  rushed  at  his  throat  to  tear  him  to 
pieces.  He  hurled  her  off  quickly,  and  then  she 
made  a  second  drive  at  him,  and  a  fierce  one. 

"Indeed,"  said  Micky,  "you  are  an  impudent 
hound  to  belong  to  a  king;  "  and,  taking  a  long, 
strong  tree  branch,  he  gave  her  a  blow  on  the 
flank  that  raised  her  high  in  the  air. 

148  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

After  that  blow  the  hound  ran  away  as  fast  as 
her  legs  could  carry  her,  and  Micky  made  after 
her  with  all  the  speed  of  his  own  legs  to  catch 
her.  On  account  of  the  blow  she  was  losing 
breath  fast,  and  he  was  coming  nearer  and  nearer, 
till  at  length  he  ran  before  her  and  drove  her 
in  against  the  ditch.  When  she  tried  to  go  one 
way  he  shook  the  branch  before  her,  and  when 
she  tried  to  rush  off  in.  another  direction,  he 
shook  it  there  too,  till  he  forced  her  into  the 
road,  and  then  she  was  mild  and  quiet  and  came 
with  him  as  gently  as  any  dog. 

When  he  was  near  home  some  one  saw  Micky 
and  the  mad  hound  with  him.  A  messenger  ran 
and  told  the  king  he  was  coming  and  the  mad 
hound  walking  with  him.  The  king  gave  orders 
to  close  every  door  in  the  castle.  He  was  in 
dread  that  the  hound  would  devour  every  one 

When  the  hound  was  brought  before  the  closed 
door  of  the  castle  the  king  put  his  head  out  the 
window  and  said,  "  That  hound  has  been  so  long 
astray  that  she  is  of  no  use  to  me  now;  take  her 
to  your  mother,  and  she  will  mind  the  house  for 

Micky  took  the  hound  home,  and  she  was  that 
tame  and  watchful  that  not  a  hen,  nor  a  duck, 
nor  a  goose  belonging  to  the  king's  castle  could 
come  near  the  house. 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.     149 

The  king  went  to  the  druid  a  second  time,  and 
asked,  "  What  can  I  do  to  kill  Micky  Mor? " 

"There  is  a  raging  wild  boar  in  the  woods 
there  beyond  that  will  tear  him  to  pieces,"  said 
the  druid.  "Tell  Micky  Mor  that  one  of  the 
servants,  when  coming  from  the  town,  lost  a 
young  pig,  that  the  pig  is  in  that  wood,  and  to 
bring  him." 

The  king  sent  for  the  boy,  and  said,  "  One  of 
my  men  lost  a  young  pig  while  coming  from  the 
town;  it  is  in  that  wood  there  beyond.  If  you  '11 
go  to  the  wood  and  bring  the  pig  hither,  I  '11  pay 
you  well  when  you  come." 

"I  will  go,"  said  the  boy,  "if  you  will  send 
some  one  to  show  me  the  wood  where  the  pig  is." 

The  king  sent  a  man,  but  not  the  man  who 
went  the  first  time  with  Micky  Mor,  for  that  man 
said,  "I  am  tired,  and  haven't  the  strength  to 
go."  They  went  on  then,  walking  toward  the 
wood.  This  guide  grew  tired  like  the  first  man, 
for  the  wood  was  far  distant  from  the  castle  of 
the  king.  When  he  was  tired,  the  boy  put  him 
under  his  arm,  and  the  two  began  to  chat  away 
as  they  journeyed.  When  near  the  wood,  the 
man  begged  and  said,  "Micky  Mor,  put  me 
down  now:  it  is  a  mad  boar  that  is  in  the 
wood;  and  if  you  are  not  careful,  he  will  tear 
you  to  pieces." 

1 50  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  God  help  you  !  "  said  Micky ;  "  't  is  the  inno- 
cent man  you  are  to  let  such  a  small  thing  put 
dread  on  you. " 

"I  will  leave  you,"  said  the  guide:  "I  cannot 
help  you;  you  are  able  to  fight  the  battle 

Away  went  the  man;  and  when  Micky  Mor 
entered  the  wood,  the  wild  boar  was  facing  him, 
and  the  beast  foaming  from  both  sides  of  the 
mouth.  As  the  guide  had  warned  him  to  be  on 
his  guard,  Micky  gave  one  spring  out  of  his  body, 
and  came  to  the  boar  with  such  a  kick  that  his 
leg  went  right  into  the  mouth  of  the  beast,  and 
split  his  jaw  back  to  the  breast.  The  wild  boar 
dropped  lifeless,  and  the  boy  was  going  home, 
leaving  the  great  beast  behind  him.  He  stopped 
then,  and  said  to  himself,  "If  I  go  back  with- 
out the  boar,  the  king  will  not  believe  that  I 
met  him  at  all."  He  turned  back,  caught  the 
wild  boar  by  the  hind  legs,  and  threw  him  across 
his  shoulders. 

The  king  thought,  "  As  he  brought  the  mad 
hound  the  first  day,  he  may  bring  the  wild  boar 
to  me  this  time."  He  placed  guards  on  all  roads 
leading  to  the  castle. 

The  guards  saw  Micky  coming  with  the  boar 
on  his  back.  Thinking  the  boar  alive,  they  ran 
hither  and  over,  closed  every  door,  window,  hole, 

The  Amadan  M or  and  the  Gruagach.     151 

or  place  that  a  mouse  might  pass  through,  for 
fear  the  wild  boar  would  tear  them  to  pieces. 

The  youth  went  up  to  the  castle,  and  struck  the 
door;  the  king  put  his  head  out  the  window,  and 
asked,  "  Can  it  be  that  you  have  the  wild  boar?  " 

"I  have  him;  but  if  I  have,  he  is  dead." 

"As  he  is  dead,  you  might  take  him  home  to 
your  mother;  and,  believe  me,  he  will  keep  you 
in  meat  for  a  long  while." 

The  king  went  to  the  druid  again. 

"I  have  no  advice  for  you  this  time,"  said  the 
druid,  "  but  one :  he  is  of  as  good  blood  as  your- 
self;  and  the  best  thing  you  can  do  is  to  give  him 
your  daughter  to  marry." 

This  daughter  was  the  king's  only  child,  and 
her  name  was  Eilin  Og.  The  king  sent  for  the 
youth  then,  and  said,  "  I  will  give  you  my 
daughter  to  marry." 

"It  is  well,"  said  Micky  Mor;  "if  you  give  her 
in  friendship,  I  will  take  her." 

Micky  Mor  made  himself  ready;  they  gave 
him  fine  clothes,  and  he  seemed  fit  to  marry  any 
king's  daughter.  After  the  marriage  he  was  a 
full  week  without  going  to  see  his  own  mother. 

When  he  went  to  her  at  the  end  of  the  week, 
she  cried  out,  "What  is  keeping  you  away  from 
me  a  whole  week?  " 

"Dear  mother,"   said   he,    "it   is   I   that  have 

1 5  2  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

met  with  the  luck.  I  got  the  king's  daughter 
to  marry." 

"  Go  away  out  of  my  sight,  and  never  come 
near  me  again! " 

"  Why  so,  mother,  what  ails  you  ?  Could  I  get 
a  better  wife  than  a  king's  daughter?  " 

"My  dear  son,  if  she  is  a  king's  daughter,  you 
are  a  king's  son,  so  you  are  as  high  as  she." 

"If  I  am  a  king's  son,  why  have  you  and  I 
been  so  poor? " 

She  told  him  then  that  the  king  had  killed  his 
father  and  all  his  forces,  and  that  the  whole 
castle  and  kingdom  had  belonged  to  his  father. 

"  Why  did  you  not  tell  me  that  long  ago?  " 

"I  would  never  have  told  you,"  said  she,  "but 
that  you  have  married  the  murderer's  daughter." 

Away  went  the  son  when  he  heard  what  his 
mother  said,  and  the  eyes  going  out  of  his  head 
with  wild  rage,  and  he  saying  that  he  would  kill 
every  one  living  about  the  king's  castle.  The 
people  in  the  castle  saw  him  coming,  and  thought 
from  his  looks  that  his  mother  had  said  some 
strong  words  to  him,  and  they  closed  every  door 
and  window  against  him.  The  young  man  put 
his  shoulder  to  the  door  of  the  castle,  and  it  flew 
in  before  him.  He  never  stopped  nor  stayed  till 
he  went  to  the  highest  chamber  of  the  castle  to 
the  king  and  queen,  killing  every  one  that  came 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Grnagach.    153 

in  his  way.     "  Pardon  me !    Spare  me !  "  cried  the 

"I  will  never  kill  you  between  my  own  two 
hands;  but  I  '11  give  you  the  chance  that  you 
gave  my  own  father  while  the  spear  was  going 
from  the  hand  to  his  breast."  With  that,  he 
caught  the  king,  and  threw  him  out  through  the 
window.  When  he  had  all  killed  who  did  not 
flee  before  him,  he  could  find  no  sight  of  his  own 
wife,  though  he  looked  for  her  everywhere. 

"Well,  mother,"  said  he  when  he  went  home, 
"  I  have  all  killed  before  me,  but  I  cannot  find 
my  own  wife." 

The  mother  went  with  him  to  search  for  the 
wife,  and  they  found  her  in  a  box.  When  they 
opened  the  box,  she  screamed  wildly. 

"  Sure,  you  know  well  that  I  did  not  marry  you 
to  kill  you;  have  no  fear." 

She  was  glad  to  have  her  life.  Micky  Mor 
then  moved  into  the  castle,  and  had  his  father's 
kingdom  and  property  back  again.  After  awhile 
he  went  to  walk  one  day  with  his  wife,  Eilin  Og. 
While  he  was  walking  for  himself,  the  sky  grew 
so  dark  that  it  seemed  like  night,  and  he  knew 
not  where  to  go;  but  he  went  on  till  he  came  at 
last  to  a  roomy  dark  glen.  When  he  was  inside 
in  the  glen,  the  greatest  drowsiness  that  ever 
came  over  a  man  came  over  him. 

154  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Eilin  Og,"  said  he,  "  come  quickly  under  my 
head,  for  sleep  is  coming  on  me." 

"It  is  not  sleep  that  is  troubling  you,  but 
something  in  this  great  gloomy  glen,  where  you 
were  never  before  in  your  life. " 

"  Oh,  Eilin  Og,  come  quickly  under  my  head. " 

She  came  under  his  head,  and  he  got  a  short 
nap  of  sleep.  When  he  woke,  hunger  and  thirst 
came  on  him  greater  than  ever  came  upon  any 
man  ever  born.  Then  a  vessel  came  to  him  filled 
with  food,  and  one  with  drink. 

"Taste  not  the  drink,  take  not  a  bite  of  the 
food,  in  this  dark  glen,  till  you  know  what  kind 
of  a  place  is  it."* 

"Eilin  Og,  I  must  take  one  drink.  I  '11  drink 
it  whomsoever  it  vexes." 

He  took  a  draught  hard  and  strong  from  the 
vessel ;  and  that  moment  the  two  legs  dropped  off 
Micky  Mor  from  the  knees  down. 

When  Eilin  Og  saw  this,  she  fell  to  wailing 
and  weeping. 

"Hold,  hold,  Eilin  Og!  silence  your  grief;  a 
.head  or  a  leg  will  not  be  in  the  country  unless 
I  get  my  two  legs  again." 

The  fog  now  dispersed,  and  the  sky  became 
clear.  When  he  saw  the  sky  clear,  he  knew 
where  to  go;  and  he  put  his  knife  and  spear 
and  wife  on  the  point  of  his  shoulder.  Then  his 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    155 

strength  and  activity  were  greater,  and  he  was 
swifter  on  his  two  knees  than  nine  times  nine 
other  men  that  had  the  use  of  their  whole  legs. 

While  he  was  going  on,  he  saw  huntsmen  com- 
ing toward  him.  A  deer  passed  him.  He  threw 
the  spear  that  he  had  in  his  hand;  it  went  through 
the  deer,  in  one  side  and  out  through  the  other. 
A  white  dog  rushed  straightway  after  the  deer. 
Micky  Mor  caught  the  deer  and  the  dog,  and  kept 

Now  a  young  Gruagach,  light  and  loose,  was 
the  first  of  the  huntsmen  to  follow  the  white  dog. 
"Micky  Mor,"  said  he,  "give  me  the  white  dog 
and  the  deer." 

"I  will  not,"  said  Micky.  "For  it  is  myself 
that  did  the  slaughter,  strong  and  fierce,  that 
threw  the  spear  out  of  my  right  hand  and  put  it 
through  the  two  sides  of  the  deer;  and  whoever 
it  be,  you  or  I,  who  has  the  strongest  hand,  let 
him  have  the  white  dog  and  the  deer." 

"Micky  Mor,"  said  Eilin  Og,  "yield  up  the 
white  dog  and  the  deer." 

"I  will,"  said  he,  "and  more  if  you  ask;  for 
had  I  obeyed  you  in  the  glen,  the  two  legs  from 
the  knees  down  would  not  have  gone  from  me." 

The  hunter,  who  was  the  Gruagach  of  Dun  an 
Oir,  was  so  glad  to  get  his  white  dog  and  deer 
that  he  said,  "  Come  with  me,  Micky  Mor,  to  my 
castle  to  dinner." 

156  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  three  were  then  passing  along  by  the 
strand  of  Ard  na  Conye  to  the  Gruagach's  castle, 
when  whom  should  they  meet  but  a  champion  who 
began  to  talk  with  the  men ;  but,  seeing  Eilin 
Og,  he  stopped  on  a  s'udden  and  asked  Micky 
Mor,  "Who  is  this  woman  with  you?  I  think 
there  is  not  another  of  such  beauty  in  all  the 
great  world." 

"That  is  my  wife,  Eilin  Og,"  said  Micky  Mor. 

"  It  is  to  find  her  that  I  am  here,  and  to  take 
her  in  spite  of  herself  or  her  father,"  said  the 

"  If  you  take  her,  you  will  take  her  in  spite  of 
me,"  said  Micky  Mor;  "but  what  champion  are 
you  with  such  words?  " 

"I  am  Maragach  of  the  Green  Gloves  from 
Great  Island.  I  have  travelled  the  world  twice, 
and  have  met  no  man  to  match  me.  No  weapons 
have  hurt  my  skin  yet  or  my  body.  Where  are 
your  arms  of  defence  in  this  great  world,  Micky 

"  I  have  never  wished  for  a  weapon  but  my  own 
two  fists  that  were  born  with  me." 

"I  name  you  now  and  forever,"  said  Maragach, 
"the  Big  Fool  (Amadan  Mor)." 

"Not  talk  of  the  mouth  performs  deeds  of 
valor,  but  active,  strong  bones.  Let  us  draw 
back  now,  and  close  with  each  other.  We  shall 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    157 

know  then  who  is  the  best  man ;  and  if  there  is 
valor  in  you,  as  you  say,  you  dirty  little  Mara- 
gach,  I  will  give  you  a  blow  with  strength  that 
will  open  your  mouth  to  the  bone." 

They  went  toward  each  other  then  threaten- 
ingly, and  closed  like  two  striking  Balors  or  two 
wild  boars  in  the  days  of  the  Fenians,  or  two 
hawks  of  Cold  Cliff,  or  two  otters  of  Blue  Pool. 
They  met  in  close,  mighty  struggle,  with  more 
screeching  than  comes  from  a  thousand.  They 
made  high  places  low,  and  low  places  high. 
The  clods  that  were  shot  away  by  them,  as  they 
wrestled,  struck  out  the  eye  of  the  hag  in  the 
Eastern  World,  and  she  spinning  thread  at  her 

Now  Maragach  drew  his  sword  strong,  keen- 
edged,  and  flawless;  this  sword  always  took  with 
the  second  blow  what  it  did  not  cut  with  the 
first;  but  there  was  no  blow  of  it  that  time  which 
the  Big  Fool  did  not  dodge,  and  when  the  sun 
was  yellow  at  setting,  the  sword  was  in  small 
bits,  save  what  remained  in  the  hand  of  the 
champion.  That  moment  the  Fool  struck  the 
champion  a  blow  'twixt  neck  and  skull,  and  took 
the  head  off  his  body. 

The  three  went  on  then  to  the  castle  of  Dun 
an  Oir  (Castle  of  Gold),  and  had  a  fine  dinner. 
During  the  dinner  they  were  discoursing  and 

158  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

telling    tales;    and    the    Gruagach's    wife    took 
greatly  to  heart  the  looks  that  her  husband  was 
giving  Eilin  Og,   and  asked,  "Which  is   it  that \ 
you  will  have,  Negil  Og's  daughter  or  the  wife 
of  the  Big  Fool?" 

Said  Eilin  Og  to  the  Gruagach's  wife,  "This 
man's  name  is  not  the  Big  Fool  in  truth  or  in 
justice,  for  he  is  a  hero  strong  and  active ;  he  is 
master  of  all  alive  and  of  every  place.  All  the 
world  is  under  his  command,  and  I  with  the 

"  If  he  is  all  this,  why  did  he  let  the  legs  go 
from  him?  "  asked  the  Gruagach's  wife. 

Eilin  Og  answered,  "  I  have  said  that  he  has 
high  virtues  and  powers;  and  only  for  the  drink 
that  was  brought  him  in  the  dark  lonely  glen, 
he  would  not  have  let  the  legs  go  from  him." 

The  Gruagach  was  in  dread  that  the  Big  Fool 
might  grow  angry  over  their  talks,  and  that 
enchantment  would  not  get  the  upper  hand  of 
strength,  and  said,  "Give  no  heed  to  woman's 
talk,  Micky  Mor,  but  guard  my  castle,  my  prop- 
erty, and  my  wife,  while  I  go  to  the  Dun  of  the 
Hunt  and  return." 

"If  any  man  comes  in  in  spite  of  me,"  said 
Micky  Mor,  "while  you  are  absent,  believe  me,  he 
will  not  go  out  in  spite  of  me  till  you  return." 

The   Gruagach  went   off   then,    and   with   the 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.     159 

power  of  his  enchantment  put  a  heavy  sleep  on 
Micky  Mor. 

"Eilin  Og,"  said  he,  "come  quickly  under  my 
head,  for  over-strong  sleep  has  come  on  me." 

Eilin  Og  came  under  his  head,  and  he  got  a 
short  nap  of  sleep.  The  Gruagach  returned  soon 
in  a  different  form  altogether,  and  he  took  a  kiss 
from  his  own  wife. 

"Oh,"  said  Eilin  Og  to  her  husband,  "you 
are  in  your  sleep,  and  it  is  to  my  grief  that  you 
are  in  it,  and  not  at  the  right  time." 

Micky  Mor  heard  her,  and  he,  between  sleep- 
ing and  waking,  gave  one  leap  from  his  body 
when  he  heard  Eilin  Og's  words,  and  stopped  at 
the  door.  It  would  have  been  a  greater  task  to 
break  any  anvil  or  block  made  by  blacksmith 
or  wood-worker,  than  to  force  the  Big  Fool  from 
the  door. 

"Micky  Mor,"  said  the  Gruagach,  disguised, 
"let  me  out." 

"I  will  not  let  you  out  till  the  Gruagach  of 
Dun  an  Oir  comes  home,  and  then  you  will  pay 
for  the  kiss  that  you  took  from  his  wife." 

"  I  will  give  you  a  leg  swift  and  strong  as  your 
own  was ;  it  is  a  leg  I  took  from  the  Knight  of 
the  Cross  when  he  was  entering  his  ship." 

"If  you  give  me  one  of  my  legs  swift  and 
strong  as  ever,  perhaps  I  may  let  you  go  out." 

160  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

That  moment  the  Fool  got  the  leg.  He 
jumped  up  then,  and  said,  "This  is  my  own  leg, 
as  strong  and  as  active  as  ever. 

"  The  other  leg  now,  or  your  head !  "  said 
Micky  Mor. 

The  Gruagach  gave  him  the  other  leg,  blew  it 
under  him  with  power  of  enchantment.  Micky 
Mor  jumped  up.  "These  are  my  own  legs  in 
strength  and  activity.  You  '11  not  go  out  of  this 
now  till  the  Gruagach  comes,  and  you  pay  for  the 
kiss  you  took  from  his  wife." 

"I  have  no  wish  to  knock  a  trial  out  of  you," 
said  the  Gruagach,  and  he  changed  himself  into 
his  own  form  again.  "You  see  who  I  am;  and  I 
am  the  huntsman  who  took  your  legs  with  the 
drink  that  you  got  from  the  cup,  and  I  am  your 
own  brother  born  and  bred." 

"Where  were  you,"  asked  the  Big  Fool,  "when 
my  father  was  killed  with  all  his  men  ?  " 

"  I  was  in  the  Eastern  World  at  that  time, 
learning  enchantment  and  magic." 

"If  you  are  my  brother,"  said  the  Big  Fool, 
"we  will  go  with  each  other  forevermore.  Come 
with  me  now  to  such  a  wood.  We  will  fight 
there  four  giants  who  are  doing  great  harm  to  our 
people  these  many  years." 

"Dear  brother,"  said  the  Gruagach,  "there  is 
no  use  for  us  to  go  against  the  four  giants ;  they 

The  Amadan  Mor  and  the  Gruagach.    161 

are  too  powerful  and  strong  for  us,  they  will  kill 

"Let  me  fight  with  three  of  them,"  said  Micky 
Mor,  "and  I  '11  not  leave  a  foot  or  a  hand  of  them 
living  on  earth;  you  can  settle  one." 

The  Gruagach  had  his  great  stallion  of  the 
f  road  brought  from  the  stable  for  himself  and  his 
brother  to  ride.  When  they  led  him  out,  the 
stallion  gave  three  neighs,  — a  neigh  of  lamenta- 
tion, a  neigh  of  loyalty,  and  a  neigh  of  gladness. 

This  stallion  had  the  three  qualities  of  Fin 
Mac  Cool's  slim  bay  steed,  — a  keen  rush  against 
a  hill,  a  swift  run  on  the  level,  a  high  running 
leap;  three  qualities  of  the  fox,  — the  gait  of  a 
fox  gay  and  proud,  a  look  straight  ahead  taking 
in  both  sides  and  turning  to  no  side,  neat  in  his 
tread  on  the  road;  three  qualities  of  a  bull,  — a 
full  eye,  a  thick  neck,  a  bold  forehead. 

They  rode  to  the  forest  of  the  giants;  and  the 
moment  they  entered,  the  giants  sniffed  them, 
and  one  of  them  cried  out,  "  I  find  the  smell  of 
men  from  Erin,  their  livers  and  lights  for  my 
supper  of  nights,  their  blood  far  my  morning 
dram,  their  jawbones  for  stepping-stones,  and 
their  shins  for  hurleys.  We  think  you  are  too 
big  for  one  bite  and  too  small  for  two  bites,  and 
sooner  or  later  we  '11  have  you  out  of  the  way." 

The  Big  Fool  and  three  of  the  giants  made  at 

1 62  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

one  another  then;  and  he  didn't  leave  a  hand 
nor  a  foot  of  the  three  alive.  He  stood  looking 
then  at  his  brother  and  the  other  giant.  The 
young  Gruagach  was  getting  too  much  from  the 
giant ;  and  he  called  out,  "  Dear  born  brother, 
give  me  some  aid,  or  the  giant  will  put  me  out 
of  the  world." 

"I  will  give  him,"  said  the  Big  Fool,  "a  blow 
of  my  fist  that  will  drive  his  head  through  the 

He  ran  to  him  then,  gave  the  giant  one  blow 
under  the  jawbone,  and  sent  his  head  through 
the  air.  It  is  not  known  to  man,  woman, 
or  child  to  this  day  where  the  head  stopped, 
or  did  it  stop  in  any  place. 


IVTOT  in  our  time,  nor  the  time  of  our  fathers, 
but  long  ago,  there  lived  an  old  king  in 
Erin.  This  king  had  but  the  one  son,  and  the 
son  had  risen  up  to  be  a  fine  strong  hero;  no 
man  in  the  kingdom  could  stand  before  him  in 

The  queen  was  dead,  and  the  king  was  gloomy 
and  bitter  in  himself  because  old  age  was  on 
him.  The  strength  had  gone  from  his  limbs, 
and  gladness  from  his  heart.  No  matter  what 
people  said,  they  could  not  drive  sorrow  from 

One  day  the  king  called  up  his'son,  and  this  is 
what  he  said  to  him,  "You  are  of  age  to  marry. 
We  cannot  tell  how  long  I  '11  be  here,  and  it 
would  cheer  and  delight  me  to  see  your  wife; 
she  might  be  a  daughter  to  me  in  my  fest  days." 

"I  am  willing  to  obey  you,"  said  the  son;  "but 
I  know  no  woman  that  I  care  for.  I  have  never 
seen  any  one  that  I  would  marry." 

164  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

With  that,  the  old  king  sent  for  a  druid,  and 
said,  "  You  must  tell  where  my  son  can  find  the 
right  bride  for  himself.  You  must  tell  us  what 
woman  he  should  marry." 

"There  is  but  one  woman,"  said  the  druid, 
"who  can  be  the  right  wife  for  your  son,  and  she 
is  the  youngest  daughter  of  the  white-bearded 
scolog;  she  is  the  wisest  young  woman  in  the 
world,  and  has  the  most  power. " 

"Where  does  her  father  live,  and  how  are  we  to 
settle  it?  "  asked  the  king  of  the  druid. 

"  I  have  no  knowledge  of  the  place  where  that 
scolog  lives,"  said  the  druid,  "and  there  is  no 
one  here  who  knows.  Your  son  must  go  himself, 
and  walk  the  world  till  he  finds  the  young 
woman.  If  he  finds  her  and  gets  her,  he  '11  have 
the  best  bride  that  ever  came  to  a  king's  son." 

"I  am  willing  to  go  in  search  of  the  scolog's 
daughter,"  said  the  young  man,  "and  I'll  never 
stop  till  I  find  her." 

With  that,  he' left  his  father  and  the  druid,  and 
never  stopped  till  he  went  to  his  foster-mother 
and  told  her  the  whole  story,  —  told  her  the  wish 
of  his  father,  and  the  advice  the  old  druid  had 
given  him. 

"My  three  brothers  live  on  the  road  you  must 
travel,"  said  the  foster-mother;  "and  the  eldest 
one  knows  how  to  find  that  scolog,  but  without 

King  s  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     165 

the  friendship  of  all  of  them,  you  '11  not  be  able 
to  make  the  journey.  I  '11  give  you  something 
that  will  gain  their  good-will  for  you." 

With  that,  she  went  to  an  inner  room,  and  made 
three  cakes  of  flour  and  baked  them.  When  the 
three  were  ready,  she  brought  them  out,  and  gave 
them  to  the  young  man. 

"When  you  come  to  my  youngest  brother's 
castle,"  said  she,  "he  will  rush  at  you  to  kill 
you,  but  do  you  strike  him  on  the  breast  with 
one  of  the  cakes;  that  minute  he  '11  be  friendly, 
and  give  you  good  entertainment.  The  second 
brother  and  the  eldest  will  meet  you  like  the 

On  the  following  morning,  the  king's  son  left 
a  blessing  with  his  foster-mother,  took  one  for 
the  road  from  her,  and  went  away  carrying  the 
three  cakes  with  him.  He  travelled  that  day 
with  great  swiftness  over  hills  and  through 
valleys,  past  great  towns  and  small  villages,  and 
never  stopped  nor  stayed  till  he  came  in  the 
evening  to  a  very  large  castle.  In  he  went,  and 
inside  was  a  woman  before  him. 

"  God  save  you !  "  said  he  to  the  woman. 

"God  save  yourself!"  said  she;  "and  will  you 
tell  me  what  brought  you  the  way,  and  where  are 
you  going?  " 

"I  came  here,"  said  the  king's  son,  "to  see 
the  giant  of  this  castle,  and  to  speak  with  him." 

1 66  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Be  said  by  me,"  replied  the  woman,  "and  go 
away  out  of  this  without  waiting  for  the  giant." 

"I  will  not  go  without  seeing  him,"  said  the 
king's  son.  "I  have  never  set  eyes  on  a  giant, 
and  I  '11  see  this  one." 

"I  pity  you,"  said  the  woman;  "your  time  is 
short  in  this  life.  You  '11  not  be  long  without 
seeing  the  giant,  and  it  's  not  much  you  '11  see 
in  this  world  after  setting  eyes  on  him ;  and  it 
would  be  better  for  you  to  take  a  drink  of  wine 
to  give  you  strength  before  he  comes." 

The  king's  son  had  barely  swallowed  the  wine 
when  he  heard  a  great  noise  beyond  the  castle. 

"Fee,  faw,  foh!"  roared  some  one,  in  a-thuri- 
dering  voice. 

The  king's  son  looked  out;  and  what  should 
he  see  but  the  giant  with  a  shaggy  goat  going 
out  in  front  of  him  and  another  coming  on  be- 
hind, a  dead  hag  above  on  his  shoulder,  a  great 
hog  of  a  wild  boar  under  his  left  arm,  and  a  yel- 
low flea  on  the  club  which  he  held  in  his  right 
hand  before  him. 

"  I  don't  know  will  I  blow  you  into  the  air  or 
put  my  foot  on  you,"  said  the  giant,  when  he 
set  eyes  on  the  king's  son.  With  that,  he  threw 
his  load  to  the  ground,  and  was  making  at  his 
visitor  to  kill  him  when  the  young  man  struck 
the  giant  on  the  breast  with  one  of  the  three 
cakes  which  he  had  from  the  foster-mother. 

Kings  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     167 

That  minute  the  giant  knew  who  was  before 
him,  and  called  out,  "  Is  n't  it  the  fine  welcome 
I  was  giving  my  sister's  son  from  Erin?  " 

With  that,  he  changed  entirely,  and  was  so 
glad  to  see  the  king's  son  that  he  did  n't  know 
what  to  do  for  him  or  where  to  put  him.  He 
made  a  great  feast  that  evening;  the  two  ate 
and  drank  with  contentment  and  delight.  The 
giant  was  so  pleased  with  the  king's  son  that 
he  took  him  to  his  own  bed.  He  was  n't  three 
minutes  in  the  bed  when  he  was  sound  asleep 
and  snoring.  With  every  breath  that  the  giant 
took  in,  he  drew  the  king's  son  into  his  mouth 
and  as  far  as  the  butt  of  his  tongue;  with  every 
breath  that  he  sent  out,  he  drove  him  to  the 
rafters  of  the  castle,  and  the  king's  son  was  that 
way  going  up  and  down  between  the  bed  and  the 
roof  until  daybreak,  when  the  giant  let  a  breath 
out  of  him,  and  closed  his  mouth;  next  moment 
the  king's  son  was  down  on  his  lips. 

"What  are  you  doing  to  me?  "  cried  the  giant. 

"Nothing,"  said  the  king's  son;  "but  you 
did  n't  let  me  close  an  eye  all  the  night.  With 
every  breath  you  let  out  of  you,  you  drove  me 
up  to  the  rafters ;  and  with  every  breath  you  took 
in,  you  drew  me  into  your  mouth  and  as  far  as 
the  butt  of  your  tongue." 

"Why  did  n't  you  wake  me?  " 

1 68  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"How  could  I  wake  you  when  time  failed  me 
to  do  it  ?  " 

"Oh,  then,  sister's  son  from  Erin,"  said  the 
giant,  "it's  the  poor  night's  rest  I  gave  you; 
but  if  you  had  a  bad  bed,  you  must  have  a  good 

With  that,  the  giant  rose,  and  the  two  ate  the 
best  breakfast  that  could  be  had  out  of  Erin. 

After  breakfast,  the  king's  son  took  the  giant's 
blessing  with  him,  and  left  his  own  behind.  He 
travelled  all  that  day  with  great  speed  and  with- 
out halt  or  rest,  till  he  came  in  the  evening  to  the 
castle  of  the  second  giant.  In  front  of  the  door 
was  a  pavement  of  sharp  razors,  edges  upward, 
a  pavement  which  no  man  could  walk  on.  Long, 
poisonous  needles,  set  as  thickly  as  bristles  in  a 
brush,  were  fixed,  points  downward,  under  the 
lintel  of  the  door,  and  the  door  was  low. 

The  king's  son  went  in  with  one  start  over 
the  razors  and  under  the  needles,  without  grazing 
his  head  or  cutting  his  feet.  When  inside,  he 
saw  a  woman  before  him. 

"  God  save  you  !  "  said  the  king's  son. 

"  God  save  yourself !  "  said  the  woman. 

The  same  conversation  passed  between  them 
then  as  passed  between  himself  and  the  woman 
in  the  first  castle. 

"God  help  you!"   said  the  woman,  when  she 

Kings  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.    169 

heard  his  story.  "  'T  is  not  long  you  '11  be  alive 
after  the  giant  comes.  Here  's  a  drink  of  wine 
to  strengthen  you." 

Barely  had  he  the  wine  swallowed  when  there 
was  a  great  noise  behind  the  castle,  and  the  next 
moment  the  giant  came  in  with  a  thundering  and 

"Who  is  this  that  I  see?  "  asked  he,  and  with 
that,  he  sprang  at  the  stranger  to  put  the  life  out 
of  him;  but  the  king's  son  struck  him  on  the 
breast  with  the  second  cake  which  he  got  from 
his  foster-mother.  That  moment  the  giant  knew 
him,  and  called  out,  "A  strange  welcome  I  had 
for  you,  sister's  son  from  Erin,  but  you  '11  get 
good  treatment  from  me  now." 

The  giant  and  the  king's  son  made  three  parts 
of  that  night.  One  part  they  spent  in  telling 
tales,  the  second  in  eating  and  drinking,  and  the 
third  in  sound,  sweet  slumber. 

Next  morning  the  young  man  went  away  after 
breakfast,  and  never  stopped  till  he  came  to  the 
castle  of  the  third  giant;  and  a  beautiful  castle 
it  was,  thatched  with  the  down  of  cotton  grass, 
the  roof  was  as  white  as  milk,  beautiful  to  look 
at  from  afar  or  near  by.  The  third  giant  was 
as  angry  at  meeting  him  as  the  other  two;  but 
when  he  was  struck  in  the  breast  with  the  third 
cake,  he  was  as  kind  as  the  best  man  could  be. 

170  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

When  they  had  taken  supper  together,  the 
giant  said  to  his  sister's  son,  "Will  you  tell  me 
what  journey  you  are  on  ?  " 

"I  will,  indeed,"  said  the  king's  son;  and  he 
told  his  whole  story  from  beginning  to  end. 

"It  is  well  that  you  told  me,"  said  the  giant, 
"for  I  can  help  you;  and  if  you  do  what  I  tell, 
you  '11  finish  your  journey  in  safety.  At  midday 
to-morrow  you'll  come  to  a  lake;  hide  in  the 
rushes  that  are  growing  at  one  side  of  the  water. 
You  '11  not  be  long  there  when  twelve  swans  will 
alight  near  the  rushes  and  take  the  crests  from 
their  heads;  with  that,  the  swan  skins  will  fall 
from  them,  and  they  will  rise  up  the  most  beau- 
tiful women  that  you  have  ever  set  eyes  on. 
When  they  go  in  to  bathe,  take  the  crest  of  the 
youngest,  put  it  in  your  bosom  next  the  skin, 
take  the  eleven  others  and  hold  them  in  your 
hand.  When  the  young  women  come  out,  give 
the  eleven 'crests  to  their  owners;  but  when  the 
twelfth  comes,  you  '11  not  give  her  the  crest 
unless  she  carries  you  to  her  father's  castle  in 
Ardilawn  Dreeachta  (High  Island  of  Enchant- 
ment). She  will  refuse,  and  say  that  strength 
fails  her  to  carry  you,  and  she  will  beg  for  the 
crest.  Be  firm,  and  keep  it  in  your  bosom ;  never 
give  it  up  till  she  promises  to  take  you.  She  will 
do  that  when  she  sees  there  is  no  help  for  it. " 

King  s  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     171 

Next  morning  the  king's  son  set  out  after 
breakfast,  and  at  midday  he  was  hidden  in  the 
rushes.  He  was  barely  there  when  the  swans 
came.  Everything  happened  as  the  giant  had 
said,  and  the  king's  son  followed  his  counsels. 

When  the  twelve  swans  came  out  of  the  lake, 
he  gave  the  eleven  crests  to  the  older  ones,  but 
kept  the  twelfth,  the  crest  of  the  youngest,  and 
gave  it  only  when  she  promised  to  carry  him  to 
her  father's-.  The  moment  she  put  the  crest  on 
her  head,  she  was  in  love  with  the  king's  son. 
When  she  came  in  sight  of  the  island,  however 
much  she  loved  him  when  they  started  from  the 
lakeside,  she  loved  him  twice  as  much  now.  She 
came  to  the  ground  at  some  distance  from  the 
castle,  and  said  to  the  young  man  at  parting,  - 

"Thousands  of  kings'  sons  and  champions  have 
come  to  give  greeting  to  my  father  at  the  door  of 
his  castle,  but  every  man  of  them  perished.  You 
will  be  saved  if  you  obey  me.  Stand  with  your 
right  foot  inside  the  threshold  and  your  left  foot 
outside;  put  your  head  under  the  lintel.  If  your 
head  is  inside,  my  father  will  cut  it  from  your 
shoulders;  if  it  is  outside,  he  will  cut  it  off  also. 
If  it  is  under  the  lintel  when  you  cry  'God  save 
you! '  he  '11  let  you  go  in  safety." 

They  parted  there;  she  went  to  her  own  place 
and  he  went  to  the  scolog's  castle,  put  his  right 

172  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

foot  inside  the  threshold,  his  left  foot  outside, 
and  his  head  under  the  lintel.  "God  save  you!  " 
called  he  to  the  scolog. 

"A  blessing  on  you!"  cried  the  scolog,  "but 
my  curse  on  your  teacher.  I  '11  give  you  lodg- 
ings to-night,  and  I  '11  come  to  you  myself  in  the 
morning;  "  and  with  that  he  sent  a  servant  with 
the  king's  son  to  a  building  outside.  The  ser- 
vant took  a  bundle  of  straw  with  some  turf  and 
potatoes,  and,  putting  these  down  inside  the  door, 
said,  "Here  are  bed,  supper,  and  fire  for  you." 

The  king's  son  made  no  use  of  food  or  bed, 
and  he  had  no  need  of  them,  for  the  scolog's 
daughter  came  soon  after,  spread  a  cloth,  took 
a  small  bundle  from  her  pocket,  and  opened  it. 
That  moment  the  finest  food  and  drink  were  there 
before  them. 

The  king's  son  ate  and  drank  with  relish,  and 
good  reason  he  had  after  the  long  journey. 
When  supper  was  over,  the  young  woman  whittled 
a  small  shaving  from  a  staff  which  she  brought 
with  her;  and  that  moment  the  finest  bed  -that 
any  man  could  have  was  there  in  the  room. 

"I  will  leave  you  now,"  said  she;  "my  father 
will  come  early  in  the  morning  to  give  you  a 
task.  Before  he  comes,  turn  the  bed  over;  'twill 
be  a  shaving  again,  and  then  you  can  throw 
it  into  the  fire.  I  will  make  you  a  new  bed 

Kings  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.    173 

With  that,  she  went  away,  and  the  young  man 
slept  till  daybreak.  Up  he  sprang,  then  turned 
the  bed  over,  made  a  shaving  of  it,  and  burned 
it.  It  was  not  long  till  the  scolog  came,  and 
this  is  what  he  said  to  the  king's  son,  "  I  have  a 
task  for  you  to-day,  and  I  hope  you  will  be  able 
to  do  it.  There  is  a  lake  on  my  land  not  far 
from  this,  and  a  swamp  at  one  side  of  it.  You 
are  to  drain  that  lake  and  dry  the  swamp  for  me, 
and  have  the  work  finished  this  evening;  if  not, 
I  will  take  the  head  from  you  at  sunset.  To 
drain  the  lake,  you  are  to  dig  through  a  neck  of 
land  two  miles  in  width;  here  is  a  good  spade, 
and  I'll  show  you  the  place  where  you're  to 
use  it." 

The  king's  son  went  with  the  scolog,  who 
showed  the  ground,  and  then  left  him. 

"What  am  I  to  do?"  said  the  king's  son. 
"  Sure,  a  thousand  men  could  n't  dig  that  land  out 
in  ten  years,  and  they  working  night  and  day; 
how  am  I  to  do  it  between  this  and  sunset?  " 

However  it  was,  he  began  to  dig;  but  if  he  did, 
for  every  sod  he  threw  out,  seven  sods  came  in, 
and  soon  he  saw  that,  in  place  of  mending  his 
trouble, 'twas  making  it  worse  he  was.  He  cast 
aside  the  spade  then,  sat  down  on  the  sod  heap, 
and  began  to  lament.  He  was  n't  long  there 
when  the  scolog's  daughter  came  with  a  cloth 
in  her  hand  and  the  small  bundle  in  her  pocket. 

174  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Why  are  you  lamenting  there  like  a  child?  " 
asked  she  of  the  king's  son. 

"Why  should  n't  I  lament  when  the  head  will 
be  taken  from  me  at  sunset?  " 

"  'T  is  a  long  time  from  this  to  sunset.  Eat 
your  breakfast  first  of  all ;  see  what  will  happen 
then,"  said  she.  Taking  out  the  little  bundle, 
she  put  down  before  him  the  best  breakfast  a 
man  could  have.  While  he  was  eating,  she  took 
the  spade,  cut  out  one  sod,  and  threw  it  away. 
When  she  did  that,  every  spadeful  of  earth  in 
the  neck  of  land  followed  the  first  spadeful ;  the 
whole  neck  of  land  was  gone,  and  before  midday 
there  was  n't  a  spoonful  of  water  in  the  lake  or 
the  swamp,  —  the  whole  place  was  dry. 

"You  have  your  head  saved  to-day,  whatever 
you  '11  do  to-morrow,"  said  she,  and  she  left 

Toward  evening  the  scolog  came,  and,  meeting 
the  king's  son,  cried  out,  "You  are  the  best  man 
that  ever  came  the  way,  or  that  ever  I  expected 
to  look  at." 

The  king's  son  went  to  his  lodging.  In  the 
evening  the  scolog's  daughter  came  with  supper, 
and  made  a  bed  for  him  as  good  as  the  first  one. 
Next  morning  the  king's  son  rose  at  daybreak, 
destroyed  his  bed,  and  waited  to  see  what  would 

King  s  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     175 

The  scolog  came  early,  and  said,  "  I  have  a 
field  outside,  a  mile  long  and  a  mile  wide,  with 
a  very  tall  tree  in  the  middle  of  it.  Here  are 
two  wedges,  a  sharp  axe,  and  a  fine  new  draw- 
ing knife.  You  are  to  cut  down  the  tree,  and 
make  from  it  barrels  to  cover  the  whole  field. 
You  are  to  make  the  barrels  and  fill  them  with 
water  before  sunset,  or  the  head  will  be  taken 
from  you." 

The  king's  son  went  to  the  field,  faced  the 
tree,  and  gave  it  a  blow  with  his  axe;  but  if  he 
did,  the  axe  bounded  back  from  the  trunk,  struck 
him  on  the  forehead,  stretched  him  on  the  flat 
of  his  back,  and  raised  a  lump  on  the  place  where 
it  hit  him.  He  gave  three  blows,  was  served 
each  time  in  the  same  way,  and  had  three  lumps 
on  his  forehead.  He  was  rising  from  the  third 
blow,  the  life  almost  gone  from  him,  and  he 
crying  bitterly,  when  the  scolog's  daughter  came 
with  his  breakfast.  While  he  was  eating  the 
breakfast,  she  struck  one  little  chip  from  the  tree; 
that  chip  became  a  barrel,  and  then  the  whole 
tree  turned  into  barrels,  which  took  their  places 
in  rows,  and  covered  the  field.  Between  the  rows 
there  was  just  room  for  a  man  to  walk.  Not  a 
barrel  but  was  filled  with  water.  From  a  chip 
she  had  in  her  hand,  the  young  woman  made  a 
wooden  dipper,  from  another  chip  she  made  a 
pail,  and  said  to  the  king's  son,  — • 

176  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"You  '11  have  these  in  your  two  hands,  and  be 
walking  up  and  down  between  the  rows  of  bar- 
rels, putting  a  little  water  into  this  and  a  little 
into  that  barrel.  When  my  father  comes,  he  will 
see  you  at  the  work  and  invite  you  to  the  castle 
to-night,  but  you  are  not  to  go  with  him.  You 
will  say  that  you  are  content  to  lodge  to-night 
where  you  lodged  the  other  nights."  With  that, 
she  went  away,  and  the  king's  son  was  going 
around  among  the  barrels  pouring  a  little  water 
into  one  and  another  of  them,  when  the  scolog 

"You  have  the  work  done,"  said  he,  "and  you 
must  come  to  the  castle  for  the  night." 

"  I  am  well  satisfied  to  lodge  where  I  am,  and 
to  sleep  as  I  slept  since  I  came  here,"  said  the 
young  man,  and  the  scolog  left  him. 

The  young  woman  brought  the  supper,  and  gave 
a  fresh  bed.  Next  morning  the  scolog  came  the 
third  time,  and  said,  "  Come  with  me  now;  I  have 
a  third  task  for  you."  With  that,  the  two  went 
to  a  quarry. 

"Here  are  tools,"  said  the  scolog,  pointing  to 
a  crowbar,  a  pickaxe,  a  trowel,  and  every  im- 
plement used  in  quarrying  and  building.  "You 
are  to  quarry  stones  to-day,  and  build  between 
this  and  sunset  the  finest  and  largest  castle 
in  the  world,  with  outhouses  and  stables,  with 
cellars  and  kitchens.  There  must  be  cooks, 

King  s  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     177 

with  men  and  women  to  serve;  there  must  be 
dishes  and  utensils  of  every  kind  and  furniture 
of  every  description;  not  a  thing  is  to  be  lack- 
ing, or  the  head  will  go  from  you  this  evening 
at  sunset." 

The  scolog  went  home;  and  the  king's  son 
began  to  quarry  with  crowbar  and  pickaxe,  and 
though  he  worked  hard,  the  morning  was  far  gone 
when  he  had  three  small  pieces  of  stone  quarried. 
He  sat  down  to  lament. 

"  Why  are  you  lamenting  this  morning?  "  asked 
the  scolog' s  daughter,  who  came  now  with  his 

"Why  shouldn't  I  lament  when  the  head  will 
be  gone  from  me  this  evening?  I  am  to  quarry 
stones,  and  build  the  finest  castle  in  the  world 
before  sunset.  Ten  thousand  men  could  n't  do 
the  work  in  ten  years." 

"  Take  your  breakfast, "  said  the  young  woman  ; 
"you  '11  see  what  to  do  after  that." 

While  he  was  eating,  she  quarried  one  stone; 
and  the  next  moment  every  stone  in  the  quarry  that 
was  needed  took  its  place  in  the  finest  and  largest 
castle  ever  built,  with  outhouses  and  cellars  and 
kitchens.  A  moment  later,  all  the  people  were 
there,  men  and  women,  with  utensils  of  all 
kinds.  Everything  was  finished  but  a  small  spot 
at  the  principal  fireplace. 


1 78  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

"The  castle  is  ready/'  said  the  scolog's  daugh- 
ter; "your  head  will  stay  with  you  to-day,  and 
there  are  no  more  tasks  before  you  at  present. 
Here  is  a  trowel  and  mortar;  you  will  be 
finishing  this  small  spot  at  the  fire  when  my 
father  comes.  He  will  invite  you  to  his  castle 
to-night,  and  you  are  to  go  with  him  this  time. 
After  dinner,  he  will  seat  you  at  a  table,  and 
throw  red  wheat  on  it  from  his  pocket.  I  have 
two  sisters  older  than  I  am;  they  and  I  will  fly 
in  and  alight  on  the  table  in  the  form  of  three 
pigeons,  and  we'll  be  eating  the  wheat;  my 
father  will  tell  you  to  choose  one  of  his  three 
daughters  to  marry.  You'll  know  me  by  this : 
there  will  be  a  black  quill  in  one  of  my  wings. 
I  '11  show  it;  choose  me." 

All  happened  as  the  scolog's  daughter  said; 
and  when  the  king's  son  was  told  to  make  his 
choice  in  the  evening,  he  chose  the  pigeon  that 
he  wanted.  The  three  sprang  from  the  table,  and 
when  they  touched  the  floor,  they  were  three 
beautiful  women.  A  dish  priest  and  a  wooden 
clerk  were  brought  to  the  castle,  and  the  two 
were  married  that  evening. 

A  month  passed  in  peace  and  enjoyment;  but 
the  king's  son  wished  to  go  back  now  to  Erin 
to  his  father.  He  told  the  wife  what  he  wanted ; 
and  this  is  what  she  said  to  him,  "  My  father  will 

Kings  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     1 79 

refuse  you  nothing.  He  will  tell  you  to  go, 
though  he  does  n't  wish  to  part  with  you.  He 
will  give  you  his  blessing;  but  this  is  all  pre- 
tence, for  he  will  follow  us  to  kill  us.  You 
must  have  a  horse  for  the  journey,  and  the  right 
horse.  He  will  send  a  man  with  you  to  three 
fields.  In  the  first  field  are  the  finest  horses 
that  you  have  ever  laid  eyes  on;  take  none  of 
them.  In  the  second  field  are  splendid  horses, 
but  not  so  fine  as  in  the  first  field ;  take  none  of 
these  either.  In  the  third  field,  in  the  farthest 
corner,  near  the  river,  is  a  long-haired,  shaggy, 
poor  little  old  mare;  take  that  one.  The  old 
mare  is  my  mother.  She  has  great  power,  but 
not  so  much  as  my  father,  who  made  her  what 
she  is,  because  she  opposed  him.  I  will  meet 
you  beyond  the  hill,  and  we  shall  not  be  seen 
from  the  castle." 

The  king's  son  brought  the  mare;  and  when 
they  mounted  her,  wings  came  from  her  sides, 
and  she  was  the  grandest  steed  ever  seen.  Away 
she  flew  over  mountains,  hills,  and  valleys,  till 
they  came  to  the  seashore,  and  then  they  flew 
over  the  sea. 

When  the  servant  man  went  home,  and  the 
scolog  knew  what  horse  they  had  chosen,  he 
turned  himself  and  his  two  daughters  into  red 
fire,  and  shot  after  the  couple.  No  matter  how 

180  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

swiftly  the  mare  moved,  the  scolog  travelled 
faster,  and  was  coming  up.  When  the  three 
reached  the  opposite  shore  of  the  sea,  the  daugh- 
ter saw  her  father  coming,  and  turned  the  mare 
into  a  small  boat,  the  king's  son  into  a  fisher- 
man, and  made  a  fishing-rod  of  herself.  Soon 
the  scolog  came,  and  his  two  daughters  with  him. 

"  Have  you  seen  a  man  and  a  woman  passing 
the  way  riding  on  a  mare?"  asked  he  of  the 

"I  have,"  said  the  fisherman.  "You  *11  soon 
overtake  them." 

On  went  the  scolog;  and  he  never  stopped  till 
he  raced  around  the  whole  world,  and  came  back 
to  his  own  castle. 

"Oh,  then,  we  were  the  fools,"  said  the  scolog 
to  his  daughters.  "  Sure,  they  were  the  fisher- 
man, the  boat,  and  the  rod." 

Off  they  went  a  second  time  in  three  balls  of 
red  fire;  and  they  were  coming  near  again  when 
the  scolog' s  youngest  daughter  made  a  spinning- 
wheel  of  her  mother,  a  bundle  of  flax  of  herself, 
and  an  old  woman  of  her  husband.  Up  rushed 
the  scolog,  and  spoke  to  the  spinner,  "  Have  you 
seen  a  mare  pass  the  way  and  two  on  her  back?  " 
asked  he. 

"I  have,  indeed,"  said  the  old  woman;  "and 
she  is  not  far  ahead  of  you." 

Kings  Son  and  White-bearded  Scolog.     1 8 1 

Away  rushed  the  sco-log;  and  he  never  stopped 
till  he  raced  around  the  whole  world,  and  came 
back  to  his  own  castle  a  second  time. 

"  Oh,  but  we  were  the  fools !  "  said  the  scolog. 
"  Sure,  they  were  the  old  woman  with  the  spin- 
ning-wheel and  the  flax,  and  they  are  gone  from 
us  now ;  for  they  are  in  Erin,  and  we  cannot  take 
our  power  over  the  border,  nor  work  against  them 
unless  they  are  outside  of  Erin.  There  is  no  use 
in  our  following  them;  we  might  as  well  stay 
where  we  are." 

The  scolog  and  his  daughters  remained  in  the 
castle  at  Ardilawn  of  Enchantment;  but  the 
king's  son  rode  home  on  the  winged  mare,  with 
his  wife  on  a  pillion  behind  him. 

When  near  the  castle  of  the  old  king  in  Erin, 
the  couple  dismounted,  and  the  mare  took  her 
own  form  of  a  woman.  She  could  do  that  in 
Erin.  The  three  never  stopped  till  they  went 
to  the  old  king.  Great  was  the  welcome  before 
them;  and  if  ever  there  was  joy  in  a  castle,  there 
was  joy  then  in  that  one. 


was  a  king  in  South  Erin  once,  and 
-*-  he  had  an  only  daughter  of  great  beauty. 
The  daughter  said  that  she  would  marry  no  man 
but  the  man  who  would  sail  to  her  father's  castle 
in  a  three-masted  ship,  and  the  castle  was  twenty 
miles  from  deep  water.  The  father  said  that 
even  if  the  daughter  was  willing,  he  'd  never  give 
her  to  any  man  but  the  man  who  would  come  in 
a  ship. 

Dyeermud  Ulta  was  the  grandson  of  a  great 
man  from  Spain  who  had  settled  in  Erin,  and 
he  lived  near  Kilcar.  Dyeermud  heard  of  the 
daughter  of  the  king  in  South  Erin,  and  fixed 
in  his  mind  to  provide  such  a  ship  and  go  to  the 
castle  of  the  king. 

Dyeermud  left  home  one  day,  and  was  walking 
toward  Killybegs,  thinking  how  to  find  such  a 
ship,  or  the  man  who  would  make  it.  When  he 
had  gone  as  far  as  Buttermilk  Cliff,  he  saw  a  red 
champion  coming  against  him  in  a  ship  that  was 

Dyeermud  Ulta  and  the  King.        183 

sailing  along  over  the  country  like  any  ship  on 
the  sea. 

"  What  journey  are  you  on  ?  "  asked  the  red 
champion  of  Dyeermud;  "and  where  are  you 
going?  " 

"I  am  going,"  answered  Dyeermud,  "to  the 
castle  of  a  king  in  South  Erin  to  know  will  he 
give  me  his  daughter  in  marriage,  and  to  know 
if  the  daughter  herself  is  willing  to  marry  me. 
The  daughter  will  have  no  husband  unless  a  man 
who  brings  a  ship  to  her  father's  castle,  and  the 
king  will  give  her  to  no  other." 

"Come  with  me,"  said  the  red  man.  "Take 
me  as  comrade,  and  what  will  you  give  me." 

"  I  will  give  you  what  is  right,"  said  Dyeermud. 

"What  will  you  give  me?  " 

"  I  will  give  you  the  worth  of  your  trouble." 

Dyeermud  went  in  the  ship,  and  they  sailed  on 
till  they  came  to  Conlun,  a  mile  above  Killybegs. 
There  they  saw  twelve  men  cutting  sods,  and  a 
thirteenth  eating  every  sod  that  they  cut. 

"  You  must  be  a  strange  man  to  eat  what  sods 
twelve  others  can  cut  for  you,"  said  Dyeermud; 
"what  is  your  name?  " 


"We  are  going,"  said  the  red  man,  "to  the 
castle  of  a  king  in  South  Erin.  Will  you  come 
with  us?  " 

184  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"What  wages  will  you  give  me?  " 

"Five  gold-pieces,"  said  the  red  man. 

"I  will  go  with  you." 

The  three  sailed  on  till  they  came  to  the  river 
Kinvara,  one  mile  below  Killybegs,  and  saw  a 
man  with  one  foot  on  each  bank,  with  his  back 
toward  the  sea  and  his  face  to  the  current.  The 
man  did  not  let  one  drop  of  water  in  the  river 
pass  him,  but  drank  every  drop  of  it. 

"Oh,"  said  the  red  man,  "what  a  thirst  there 
is  on  you  to  drink  a  whole  river !  How  are  you 
so  thirsty  ?  " 

"When  I  was  a  boy,  my  mother  used  to  send 
me  to  school,  and  I  did  not  wish  to  go  there.  She 
flogged  and  beat  me  every  day,  and  I  cried  and 
lamented  so  much  that  a  black  spot  rose  on  my 
heart  from  the  beating;  that  is  why  there  is  such 
thirst  on  me  now." 

"  What  is  your  name,  and  will  you  go  with  us  ?  " 

"My  name  is  Gulping-a-River.  I  will  go  with 
you  if  you  give  me  wages." 

"I  will  give  you  five  gold-pieces,"  said  the  red 

"I  will  go  with  you,"  said  Gulping-a-River. 

They  sailed  on  then  to  Howling  River,  within 
one  mile  of  Dun  Kinealy.  There  they  saw  a 
man  blowing  up  stream  with  one  nostril,  and  the 
other  stopped  with  a  plug. 

Dyeermud  Ulta  and  the  King.        185 

"Why  blow  with  one  nostril?"  asked  the  red 

"If  I  were  to  blow  with  the  two,"  replied  the 
stranger,  "  I  would  send  you  with  your  ship  and 
all  that  are  in  it  up  into  the  sky  and  so  far  away 
that  you  would  never  come  back  again." 

"Who  are  you,  and  will  you  take  service  with 

"  My  name  is  Greedy-of-Blowing,  and  I  will  go 
with  you  for  wages." 

"You  will  have  five  gold-pieces." 

"I  am  your  man,"  said  Greedy-of-Blowing. 

They  sailed  away  after  that  to  Bunlaky,  a  place 
one  mile  beyond  Dun  Kinealy;  and  there  they 
found  a  man  crushing  stones  with  the  end  of  his 
back,  by  sitting  down  on  them  suddenly. 

"What  are  you  doing  there?"  asked  the  red 

"My  name  is  Ironback,"  answered  the  stranger. 
"  I  am  breaking  stones  with  the  end  of  my  back 
to  make  a  mill,  a  bridge,  and  a  road." 

"  Will  you  come  with  us  ? "  asked  the  red 

"I  will  for  just  wages,"  said  Ironback. 

"  You  will  get  five  gold-pieces. " 

"I  will  go  in  your  company,"  said  Ironback. 

They  went  on  sailing,  and  were  a  half  a  mile 
below  Mount  Charles  when  they  saw  a  man  run- 

1 86  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

ning  up  against  them  faster  than  any  wind,  and 
one  leg  tied  to  his  shoulder. 

"  Where  are  you  going,  and  what  is  your  hurry  ? 
Why  are  you  travelling  on  one  leg  ? "  asked  the 
red  man. 

"I  am  running  to  find  a  master,"  said  the 
other.  "  If  I  were  to  go  on  my  two  legs,  no  man 
could  see  me  or  set  eyes  on  me. " 

"  What  can  you  do  ?  I  may  take  you  in 

"  I  am  a  very  good  messenger.  My  name  is 
Foot-on-Shoulder. " 

"  I  will  give  you  five  gold  pieces." 

"I  will  go  with  you,"  said  the'other. 

The  ship  moved  on  now,  and  never  stopped  till 
within  one  mile  of  Donegal  they  saw,  at  a  place 
called  Kilemard,  a  man  lying  in  a  grass  field  with 
his  cheek  to  the  earth. 

"What  are  you  doing  there?"  asked  the  red 

"  Holding  my  ear  to  the  ground,  and  hearing 
the  grass  grow. " 

"You  must  have  good  ears.  What  is  your 
name;  and  will  you  take  service  with  me?  " 

"My  name  is  Hearing  Ear.  I  will  go  with 
you  for  good  wages. " 

"You  will  have  five  gold-pieces." 

"I  am  your  man,"  said  Hearing  Ear. 

Dyeermud  Ulta  and  the  King.        187 

They  went  next  to  Laihy,  where  they  found 
a  man  named  Fis  Wacfis  (Wise  man,  Son  of 
Knowledge),  and  he  sitting  at  the  roadside  chew- 
ing his  thumb. 

"What  are  you  doing  there?"  asked  the  red 

"  I  am  learning  whatever  I  wish  to  know  by 
chewing  my  thumb." 

"Take  service  with  me,  and  come  on  the  ship." 

He  went  on  the  same  terms  as  the  others,  and 
they  never  stopped  nor  halted  till  they  came  to 
the  castle  of  the  king.  They  were  outside  the 
walls  three  days  and  three  nights  before  any  man 
spoke  a  word  to  them.  At  last  the  king  sent  a 
messenger  to  ask  who  were  they  and  what 
brought  them. 

"  I  have  come  in  a  ship  for  your  daughter,  and 
my  name  is  Dyeermud  Ulta,"  was  the  answer  the 
king  got. 

The  king  was  frightened  at  the  answer,  though 
he  knew  himself  well  enough  that  it  was  for  the 
daughter  Dyeermud  had  come  in  the  ship,  and 
was  greatly  in  dread  that  she  would  be  taken 
from  him.  He  went  then  to  an  old  henwife  that 
lived  near  the  castle  to  know  could  he  save  the 
daughter,  and  how  could  he  save  her. 

"If  you'll  be  said  by  me,"  said  the  henwife, 
"you  '11  bid  them  all  come  to  a  feast  in  the 

1 88  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

castle.  Before  they  come,  let  your  men  put 
sharp  poisoned  spikes  under  the  cushions  of  the 
seats  set  apart  for  the  company.  They  will  sit 
on  the  spikes,  swell  up  to  the  size  of  a  horse,  and 
die  before  the  day  is  out,  every  man  of  them." 

Hearing  Ear  was  listening,  heard  all  the 
talk  between  the  king  and  the  henwife,  and 
told  it. 

"Now,"  said  Fis  Wacfis  to  Dyeermud,  "the 
king  will  invite  us  all  to  a  feast  to  morrow,  and 
you  will  go  there  and  take  us.  It  is  better  to 
send  Ironback  to  try  our  seats,  and  sit  on  them, 
for  under  the  cushion  of  each  one  will  be  poisoned 
spikes  to  kill  us." 

That  day  the  king  sent  a  message  to  Dyeer- 
mud. "Will  you  come,"  said  he,  "with  your 
men,  to  a  feast  in  my  castle  to-morrow?  I  am 
glad  to  have  such  guests,  and  you  are  welcome." 

"Very  thankful  am  I,"  said  Dyeermud.  We 
will  come  to  the  feast." 

Before  the  company  came,  Ironback  went  into 
the  hall  of  feasting,  looked  at  everything,  sat 
down  on  each  place,  and  made  splinters  of  the 

"Those  seats  are  of  no  use,"  said  Ironback; 
"they  are  no  better  than  so  many  cabbage 

The   king   had    iron  seats  brought   in,   strong 

Dyeermud  UUa  and  the  King.        189 

ones.  There  was  no  harm  to  Dyeermud  and  his 
company  from  that  feast. 

Away  went  the  king  to  the  henwife,  and  told 
how  the  seats  had  been  broken.  "  What  am  I  to 
do  now?  "  asked  he. 

"  Say  that  to  get  your  daughter  they  must  eat 
what  food  is  in  your  castle  at  one  meal." 

Next  day  Dyeermud  went  to  the  castle,  and 
asked,  "Am  I  to  have  your  daughter  now?  " 

"You  are  not,"  said  the  king,  "unless  your 
company  will  eat  what  food  is  in  my  castle  at 
one  meal" 

"Very  well,"  said  Dyeermud;  "have  the  meal 

The  king  gave  command  to  bring  out  the  hun- 
dred and  fifty  tons  of  provisions  in  the  castle  all 
prepared  and  ready  for  eating. 

Dyeermud  came  with  his  men,  and  Sod-eater 
began;  and  it  was  as  much  as  all  the  king's  ser- 
vants could  do  to  bring  food  as  fast  as  he  ate  it, 
and  he  never  stopped  till  there  was  n't  a  pound 
of  the  hundred  and  fifty  tons  left. 

"  Is  this  all  you  have  to  give  me?  "  asked  Sod- 
eater.  "  I  could  eat  three  times  as  much. " 

"Oh,  we  have  no  more,"  said  the  servants. 

"Where  is  our  dinner?  "  asked  Dyeermud. 

The  king  had  nothing  for  the  others,  and  he 
had  nothing  for  himself.  All  had  to  go  away 

190  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

hungry,  and  there  was  great  dissatisfaction  in 
the  castle,  and  complaining. 

The  king  had  nothing  to  do  now  but  to  go 
to  the  henwife  a  third  time  for  advice  in  his 

"You  have/'  said  she,  "three  hundred  and  fifty 
pipes  of  wine.  If  his  company  cannot  drink 
every  drop  of  the  wine,  don't  give  him  the 
daughter. " 

Next  day  Dyeermud  went  to  the  castle.  "Am 
I  to  have  the  daughter  now?"  asked  he  of  the 

"I  will  not  give  my  daughter,"  said  the  king, 
"unless  you  and  your  company  will  drink  the 
three  hundred  and  fifty  pipes  of  wine  that  are  in 
my  castle." 

"Bring  out  the  wine,"  said  Dyeermud;  "we'll 
come  to-morrow,  and  do  the  best  we  can  to  drink 

Dyeermud  and  his  men  went  next  day  to  where 
the  wine  was.  Gulping-a-River  was  the  man  for 
drinking,  and  they  let  him  at  it.  After  he  got 
a  taste,  he  was  that  anxious  that  he  broke  in 
the  head  of  one  pipe  after  another,  and  drank 
till  there  wasn't  a  drop  left  in  the  three  hundred 
and  fifty  pipes.  All  the  wine  did  was  to  put 
thirst  on  Gulping-a-River;  and  he  was  that  mad 
with  thirst  that  he  drank  up  the  spring  well  at  the 

Dyeermud  Ulta  and  the  King.        191 

castle,  and  all  the  springs  in  the  neighborhood, 
and  a  loch  three  miles  distant,  so  that  in  the 
evening  there  wasn't  a  drop  of  water  for  man 
or  beast  in  the  whole  place. 

What  did  the  king  do  but  go  to  the  henwife 
the  fourth  time. 

"Oh,"  said  she,  "there  is  no  use  in  trying  to 
get  rid  of  him  this  way;  you  can  make  no  hand 
of  Dyeermud  by  eating  or  drinking.  Do  you 
send  him  now  to  the  Eastern  World  to  get  the 
bottle  of  cure  from  the  three  sons  of  Sean  [pro- 
nounced Shawn,  —  John]  Mac  Glinn,  and  to  have 
it  at  the  castle  before  noon  to-morrow." 

"  Am  I  to  get  the  daughter  now  ? "  asked 
Dyeermud  of  the  king. 

"You  '11  not  get  my  daughter,"  said  the  king, 
"unless  you  have  for  me  here  to-morrow  the 
bottle  of  cure  which  the  three  sons  of  Sean  Mac 
Glinn  have  in  the  Eastern  World." 

Dyeermud  went  to  his  ship  with  the  king's 

"  Let  me  go,"  said  Foot-on-Shoulder.  "  I  will 
bring  you  the  bottle  in  season." 

"You  may  go,"  said  Dyeermud. 

Away  went  Foot-on-Shoulder/ and  was  at  the 
sea  in  a  minute.  He  made  a  ship  of  his  cap,  a 
mast  of  his  stick,  a  sail  of  his  shirt,  and  away 
with  him  sailing  over  the  sea,  never  stopping  nor 
halting  till  he  reached  the  Eastern  World. 

1 92  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

In  five  hours,  he  came  to  a  castle  where  the 
walls  of  defence  were  sixty-six  feet  high  and 
fifty-five  feet  thick.  Sean  Mac  Glinn's  three 
sons  were  playing  football  on  the  top  of  the 

"Send  down  the  bottle  of  cure  to  me,"  said 
Foot-on-Shoulder,  "or  I  '11  have  your  lives." 

"We  will  not  give  you  the  bottle  of  cure;  and 
if  you  come  up,  it  will  be  as  hard  to  find  your 
brains  five  minutes  after  as  to  find  the  clay  of  a 
cabin  broken  down  a  hundred  years  ago." 

Foot-on-Shoulder  made  one  spring,  and  rose  six 
feet -above  the  wall.  They  were  so  frightened  at 
the  sight  of  what  he  did,  and  were  so  in  dread 
of  him  that  they  cried,  "You'll  get  what  you 
want,  only  spare  us,  —  leave  us  our  lives.  You 
are  the  best  man  that  we  have  ever  seen  coming 
from  any  part ;  you  have  done  what  no  man  could 
ever  do  before  this.  You'll  get  the  bottle  of 
cure;  but  will  you  send  it  back  again?" 

"I  will  not  promise  that,"  said  Foot-on- 
Shoulder;  "I  may  send  it,  and  I  may  not." 

They  gave  him  the  bottle,  he  went  his  way  to 
his  ship,  and  sailed  home  to  Erin.  Next  morn- 
ing the  henwife  dressed  herself  up  as  a  piper, 
and,  taking  a  rod  of  enchantment  with  her,  went 
away,  piping  on  a  hill  which  Foot-on-Shoulder 
had  to  cross  in  coming  to  the  castle.  She 

Dyeermud  Ulta  and  the  King.        193 

thought  he  would  stop  to  listen  to  the  music  she 
was  making,  and  then  she  would  strike  him  with 
the  rod,  and  make  a  stone  of  him.  She  was 
piping  away  for  herself  on  the  hill  like  any  poor 
piper  making  his  living.  Hearing  Ear  heard  the 
music,  and  told  Dyeermud.  Fis  Wacfis  chewed 
his  thumb  at  Dyeermud's  command,  and  found 
out  that  the  piper  was  the  king's  henwife,  and 
discovered  her  plans. 

"Oh,"  said  Fis  Wacfis  to  Dyeermud,  "unless 
you  take  her  out  of  that,  she  will  make  trouble 
for  us." 

"  Greedy  of-Blowing,  can  you  make  away  with 
that  old  woman  on  the  hill? "  asked  Dyeermud. 

"I  can  indeed,"  said  Greedy-of -Blowing. 

With  that,  he  ran  to  the  foot  of  the  hill;  and 
with  one  blast  from  both  nostrils,  he  sent  the 
old  hag  up  into  the  sky,  and  away  she  went  sail 
ing  so  that    neither    tale   nor   word   of  her  ever 
came  back. 

Foot-on- Shoulder  was  at  the  ship  outside  the 
castle  walls  half  an  hour  before  noon,  and  gave 
the  bottle  of  cure  to  Dyeermud.  Dyeermud 
went  that  minute  to  the  castle,  and  stood  before 
the  king. 

"  Here  is  the  bottle  of  cure  which  I  got  from 
the  three  sons  of  Sean  Mac  Glinn  in  the  Eastern 
World.  Am  I  to  get  the  daughter  now? " 


194  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I'll  send  you  my  answer  to  the  ship,"  said 
the  king. 

Where  should  the  king  go  now  in  his  trouble 
but  to  find  the  henwife.  She  was  not  at  home. 
He  sent  men  to  look  for  the  old  woman ;  no  tid- 
ings of  her  that  day.  They  waited  till  the  next 
day;  not  a  sight  of  her.  The  following  morning 
the  king  sent  servants  and  messengers  to  look 
for  the  henwife.  They  searched  the  whole  neigh- 
borhood ;  could  not  find  her.  He  sent  all  his  war- 
riors and  forces.  They  looked  up  and  down, 
searched  the  whole  kingdom,  searched  for  nine 
days  and  nights,  but  found  no  trace  of  the 

The  king  consented  at  last  to  give  the  daughter 
to  Dyeermud,  and  he  had  to  consent,  and  no 
thanks  to  him,  for  he  could  n't  help  himself. 
The  daughter  was  glad  and  willing;  she  loved 
Dyeermud  from  the  first,  but  the  father  would 
not  part  with  her. 

The  wedding  lasted  a  day  and  a  year,  and  when 
that  time  was  over,  Dyeermud  went  home  on  the 
ship  to  Kilcar,  and  there  he  paid  all  his  men 
their  wages,  and  they  went  each  to  his  own 

The  red  man  stayed  sometime  in  the  neighbor- 
hood, and  what  should  he  do  one  day  but  seize 
Dyeermud 's  wife,  put  her  in  the  ship,  and  sail 

Dyeernmd  Ulta  and  the  King.        195 

away  with  her.  When  going,  she  put  him  under 
injunction  not  to  marry  her  for  a  day  and  a  year. 

Now  Dyeermud,  who  was  hunting  when  the 
red  man  stole  his  wife,  was  in  great  grief  and 
misery,  for  he  knew  not  where  the  red  man  lived 
nor  where  he  should  travel  to  find  him.  At  last 
he  sent  a  message  of  inquiry  to  the  King  of 
Spain;  and  the  king's  answer  was,  "Only  two 
persons  in  the  whole  world  know  where  that  man 
lives,  Great  Limper,  King  of  Light,  and  Black 
Thorn  of  Darkness.  I  have  written  to  these  two, 
and  told  them  to  go  to  you." 

The  two  men  came  in  their  own  ship  through 
the  air  to  Kilcar,  to  Dyeermud,  and  talked  and 
took  counsel. 

"I  do  not  know  where  the  red  man  can  be," 
said  Black  Thorn,  "unless  in  Kilchroti;  let  us 
go  to  that  place." 

They  sailed  away  in  their  ship,  and  it  went 
straight  to  the  place  they  wanted.  They  had 
more  power  than  the  red  man,  and  could  send 
their  ship  anywhere. 

In  five  days  and  nights  they  were  at  Kilchroti. 
They  went  straight  to  the  house,  and  no  one  in 
the  world  could  see  the  red  man's  house  there 
but  these  two.  Black  Thorn  struck  the  door, 
and  it  flew  open.  The  red  man,  who  was  inside, 
took  their  hands,  welcomed  them  heartily,  and 

196  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

said,  "  I  hope  it  is  not  to  do  me  harm  that  ye 
are  here." 

"  It  is  not  to  harm  you  or  any  one  that  we  are 
here,"  replied  they.  "We  are  here  only  to  get 
what  is  right  and  just,  but  without  that,  we  will 
not  go  from  this." 

"  What  is  the  right  and  just  that  ye  are  here 
for?  "  asked  the  red  man. 

"Dyeermud's  wife,"  replied  Black  Thorn,  "and 
it  was  wrong  in  you  to  take  her;  you  must  give 
her  up." 

"I  will  fight  rather  than  give  her,"  said  the  red 

"Fighting  will  not  serve  you,"  said  Black 
Thorn,  "  it  is  better  for  you  to  give  her  to  us." 

"Ye  will  not  get  her  without  seven  tons  of 
gold,"  said  the  red  man.  "If  ye  bring  me  the 
gold,  I  will  give  her  to  you.  If  ye  come  without 
it,  ye '11  get  fight  from  me." 

"We  will  give  you  the  gold,"  said  Great 
Limper,  "within  seven  days." 

"Agreed,"  said  the  red  man. 

"Come  to  the  ship,"  said  Great  Limper  to 
Black  Thorn. 

They  went  on  board,  and  sailed  away. 

"  I  was  once  on  a  ship  which  was  wrecked  on 
the  coast  of  Spain  with  forty-five  tons  of  gold. 
I  know  where  that  gold  is;  we  will  get  it,"  said 
Great  Limper. 

Dyeermud  Ulta  and  the  King.        197 

The  two  sailed  to  where  the  gold  was,  took 
seven  tons  of  it,  and  on  the  sixth  day  they  had 
it  in  Kilchroti,  in  front  of  the  red  man's  house. 
They  weighed  out  the  gold  to  him.  They  went 
then  to  find  Dyeermud's  wife.  She  was  behind 
nine  doors;  each  door  was  nine  planks  in  thick- 
ness, and  bolted  with  nine  bars  of  iron.  The 
red  man  opened  the  doors;  all  went  in,  and 
looked  at  the  chamber.  The  woman  went  out 
first,  next  the  red  man ;  and,  seizing  the  door,  he 
thought  to  close  it  on  Great  Limper  and  Black 
Thorn,  but  Black  Thorn  was  too  quick  for  him, 
and  before  the  red  man  could  close  the  door  he  shot 
him,  first  with  a  gold  and  then  with  a  silver  bullet. 

The  red  man  fell  dead  on  the  threshold. 

"I  knew  he  was  preparing  some  treachery," 
said  Black  Thorn.  "  When  we  weighed  the  gold 
to  him,  he  let  such  a  loud  laugh  of  delight  out  of 

They  took  the  woman  and  the  gold  to  Dyeer- 
mud; they  stayed  nine  days  and  nights  with  him 
in  Kilcar,  eating,  drinking,  and  making  merry. 
They  drank  to  the  King  of  Spain,  to  all  Erin, 
to  themselves,  and  to  their  well-wishers.  You 
see,  I  had  great  work  to  keep  up  with  them 
these  nine  days  and  nights.  I  hope  they  will 
do  well  hereafter. 

CUD,    CAD,    AND    MICAD,    THREE    SONS 

'T'HERE  was  a  king  once  in  Urhu,  and  he 
had  three  sons.  The  eldest  was  three,  the 
second  two,  the  youngest  one  year  old.  Their 
names  were  Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  The  three 
brothers  were  playing  one  day  near  the  castle, 
which  was  hard  by  the  seashore;  and  Cud  ran  in 
to  his  father,  and  said,  "  I  hope  you  will  give  me 
what  I  ask." 

"Anything  you  ask  that  I  can  give  you  will 
get,"  said  the  father. 

"'Tis  all  I  ask,"  said  Cud,  "that  you  will  give 
me  and  my  brothers  one  of  your  ships  to  sail  in 
till  evening." 

"  I  will  give  you  that  and  welcome,  but  I  think 
you  and  they  are  too  weak  to  go  on  a  ship." 

"Let  us  be  as  we  are;  we  '11  never  go  younger," 
said  Cud. 

The  king  gave  the  ship.  Cud  hurried  out,  and, 
catching  Cad  and  Micad,  one  under  each  of  his 
arms,  went  with  one  spring  to  the  best  ship  in 
the  roadstead.  They  raised  the  sails  then,  and 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  199 

the  three  brothers  did  as  good  work  as  the  best 
and  largest  crew.  They  left  the  harbor  with  the 
fairest  wind  a  ship  ever  had.  The  wind  blew  in 
a  way  that  not  a  cable  was  left  without  stretch- 
ing, an  oar  without  breaking,  nor  a  helm  without 
cracking  with  all  the  speed  the  ship  had.  The 
water  rose  in  three  terrible  ridges,  so  that  the 
rough  gravel  of  the  bottom  was  brought  to  the  top, 
and  the  froth  of  the  top  was  driven  down  to  the 
bottom  of  the  sea.  The  sight  of  the  kingdom 
of  the  world  soon  sank  from  the  eyes  of  the 
brothers ;  and  when  they  saw  nothing  but  blue 
sea  around  them,  a  calm  fell  on  the  water. 

Cud  was  going  back  and  forth  on  the  deck, 
sorry  for  what  was  done ;  and  a  good  right  he  had 
to  be  sorry,  but  he  was  not  sorry  long.  He  saw 
a  small  currachan  (boat)  a  mile  away,  and  went 
with  one  spring  from  his  ship  to  the  currachan. 
The  finest  woman  in  the  world  was  sleeping  in 
the  bottom  of  the  boat.  He  put  a  finger  under 
her  girdle,  and  went  back  with  a  spring  to  the 
ship.  When  he  touched  his  own  deck,  she  woke. 

"  I  put  you  under  bonds  and  the  misfortune  of 
the  world,"  cried  she,  "to  leave  me  where  you 
saw  me  first,  and  to  be  going  ever  and  always  till 
you  find  me  again." 

"What  name  am  I  to  call  you  when  I  go  in 
search  of  you  ?  " 

2OO  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  The  Cat  of  Fermalye,  or  the  Swan  of  Endless 
Tales,"  said  the  woman. 

He  took  her  with  one  spring  to  the  little  boat, 
and  with  another  spring  went  back  to  his  own 
ship.  Whatever  good  wind  they  had  coming, 
they  had  it  twice  better  going  home.  In  the 
evening  the  ship  was  anchored  among  the  others 
again.  The  brothers  went  ashore  in  a  boat. 
When  Cud  came  in,  his  father  put  out  a  chair 
for  him,  and  gave  him  great  welcome.  Cud  sat 
down;  but  as  he  did,  he  broke  three  rungs  in  the 
chair,  two  ribs  in  himself,  and  a  rafter  in  the 
roof  of  the  castle. 

"You  were  put  under  bonds  to-day,"  said  the 

"I  was,"  said  Cud. 

"What  bonds?"      . 

"To  be  going  ever  and  always  till  I  find 
the  Cat  of  Fermalye,  or  the  Swan  of  Endless 

Himself  and  his  father  spent  that  night 
together,  and  they  were  very  sad  and  down- 
hearted. As  early  as  the  dawn  came,  Cud  rose 
and  ate  his  breakfast. 

"  Stay  with  me;  I  '11  give  you  half  my  kingdom 
now,  and  all  when  I  die,"  said  the  father. 

"  I  cannot  stay  under  bonds ;  I  must  go, "  replied 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  201 

Cud  took  the  ship  he  liked  best,  and  put  sup- 
plies for  a  day  and  seven  years  in  her. 

"Now,"  said  the  father,  "ask  for  something 
else;  anything  in  the  world  I  can  give,  I  will 
give  you." 

"  I  want  nothing  but  my  two  brothers  to  go 
with  me." 

"  I  care  not  where  they  go  if  yourself  leaves 
me,"  said  the  king. 

The  three  brothers  went  aboard  the  ship;  and 
if  the  wind  was  good  the  first  day,  it  was  better 
this  time.  They  never  stopped  nor  rested  till 
they  sailed  to  Fermalye.  The  three  went  on 
shore,  and  were  walking  the  kingdom.  They 
had  walked  only  a  short  piece  of  it  when  they 
saw  a  grand  castle.  They  went  to  the  gate;  Cud 
was  just  opening  it  when  a  cat  came  out.  The 
cat  looked  at  Cud,  bowed  to  him,  and  went  her 
way.  They  saw  neither  beast  nor  man  in  the 
castle,  or  near  it ;  only  a  woman  at  the  highest 
window,  and  she  sewing. 

"We'll  not  stop  till  we  go  as  far  as  the 
woman,"  said  Cud. 

The  woman  welcomed  them  when  they  came 
to  her,  put  out  a  gold  chair  to  Cud  and  a  wooden 
chair  to  each  of  his  brothers. 

"'Tis  strange,"  said  Micad,  "to  show  so  much 
greater  respect  to  one  than  the  other  two." 

"No    cause    for   wonder    in    that,"    said    the 

2O2  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

woman.  "  I  show  respect  to  this  one,  for  he  is 
my  brother-in-law." 

"  We  do  not  wonder  now,  but  where  is  his 
wife  ? " 

"  She  went  out  a  cat  when  ye  came  in." 

"Oh,  was  that  she?"   cried  Cud. 

They  spent  the  night  with  good  cheer  and 
plenty  of  food,  the  taste  of  honey  in  every  bit 
they  ate,  and  no  bit  dry.  As  early  as  the  day 
dawned,  the  three  rose,  and  the  sister-in-law  had 
their  breakfast  before  them. 

"  Grief  and  sorrow,  I'm  in  dread  't  is  bad  cook- 
ing ye  have  on  the  ship.  Take  me  with  you; 
you'll  have  better  food." 

"Welcome,"  said  Cud.      "Come  with  us." 

Each  of  the  others  welcomed  her  more  than 
Cud.  The  four  went  on  board;  the  brothers 
raised  sails,  and  were  five  days  going  when  they 
saw  a  ship  shining  like  gold  and  coming  from 
Western  waters. 

"That  ship  has  no  good  appearance,"  said  Cud. 
"We  must  keep  out  of  danger;"  and  he  took 
another  course.  Whatever  course  he  took,  the 
other  ship  was  before  him  always,  and  crossing 

"  Is  n't  it  narrow  the  ocean  is,  that  you  must  be 
crossing  me  always?  "  shouted  Cud. 

"Do  not  wonder,"  cried  a  man  from  the  other 
ship;  "we  heard  that  the  three  sons  of  the  King 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  203 

of  Urhu  were  sailing  on  the  sea,  and  if  we  find 
them,  it  's  not  long  they  '11  be  before  us." 

The  three  strangers  were  the  three  sons  of  the 
King  of  Hadone. 

"If  it  is  for  these  you  are  looking,"  said  Cud, 
"  you  need  go  no  farther, " 

"It  is  to  find  you  that  we  are  here,"  said  the 
man  on  the  shining  ship,  "to  take  you  on  a  visit 
to  our  own  kingdom  for  a  day  and  seven  years. 
After  that,  we  will  go  for  the  same  length  of  time 
to  your  kingdom." 

"You  will  get  that  and  welcome,"  said 

"Come  on  board  my  ship,"  said  the  eldest  son 
of  the  King  of  Hadone:  "we'll  make  one  com- 
pany; your  ship  is  not  much  to  look  at." 

"Of  the  food  that  our  father  gave  us,"  said 
Cud,  "  there  is  no  bit  dry,  and  we  have  plenty  on 
board.  If  it  is  dry  food  that  you  have  in  that  big 
ship,  leave  it  and  come  to  us." 

The  sons  of  the  King  of  Hadone  went  to  the 
small  ship,  and  let  the  big  one  go  with  the  wind. 
When  Cud  saw  that  they  let  their  own  ship  go, 
he  made  great  friends  of  them. 

"  Have  you  been  on  sea  ever  before  ? "  asked 
he  of  the  eldest  of  the  strangers. 

"  I  am  on  sea  since  I  was  of  an  age  to  walk  by 
myself,"  replied  he. 

"This  is  my  first  voyage,"  said  Cud.      "Now 

2O4  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

as  we  are  brothers  and  friends,  and  as  you  are 
taking  us  to  visit  your  kingdom,  I  '11  give  you 
command  of  my  ship." 

The  king's  son  took  this  from  Cud  willingly, 
and  steered  home  in  a  straight  course. 

When  the  sons  of  the  King  of  Hadone  were 
leaving  home,  they  commanded  all  in  the  king- 
dom, big  and  little,  small  and  great,  weak  and 
strong,  to  be  at  the  port  before  them  when  they 
came  back  with  the  sons  of  the  King  of  Urhu. 
"These,"  said  they,  "must  never  be  let  out  alive 
on  the  shore." 

In  the  first  harbor  the  ship  entered,  the  shore 
was  black  and  white  with  people. 

"Why  are  all  those  people  assembled?  "  asked 

"I  have  no  knowledge  of  that,"  said  the  king's 
son;  "but  if  you  '11  let  your  two  brothers  go  with 
me  and  my  brothers,  we  '11  find  out  the  reason." 

They  anchored  the  ship,  put  down  a  long-boat, 
and  Cad  and  Micad  went  into  it  with  the  three 
sons  of  the  King  of  Hadone.  Cud  and  his  sister- 
in-law  stayed  behind  on  the  ship.  Cud  never 
took  his  eyes  off  his  brothers  as  they  sat  in  the 
boat.  He  watched  them  when  near  the  shore, 
and  saw  them  both  killed.  With  one  bound  he 
sprang  from  the  bowsprit  to  land,  and  went 
through  all  there  as  a  hawk  through  small  birds. 
Two  hours  had  not  passed  when  the  head  was  off 

Cud,   Cad,  and  Micad.  205 

every  man  in  the  kingdom.  Whatever  trouble 
he  had  in  taking  the  heads,  he  had  twice  as 
much  in  finding  his  brothers.  When  he  had  the 
brothers  found,  it  failed  him  to  know  how  to  bury 
them.  At  last  he  saw  on  the  beach  an  old  ship 
with  three  masts.  He  pulled  out  the  masts,  drew 
the  ship  further  on  land,  and  said  to  himself,  "  I 
will  have  my  brothers  under  this  ship  turned 
bottom  upward,  and  come  back  to  take  them 
whenever  I  can." 

He  put  the  bodies  on  the  ground,  turned  the 
ship  over  them,  and  went  his  way. 

The  woman  saw  all  the  slaughter.  "Never 
am  I  to  see  Cud  alive,"  thought  she,  and  fell 
dead  from  sorrow. 

Cud  took  the  woman  to  shore,  and  put  her 
under  the  ship  with  his  brothers.  He  went  to 
his  ship  then,  sailed  away  alone,  and  never 
stopped  till  he  came  to  the  kingdom  where  lived 
Mucan  Mor  Mac  Ri  na  Sorach.  Cud  went 
ashore,  and  while  walking  and  looking  for  him- 
self, he  came  to  a  castle.  He  was  wondering  at 
the  pole  of  combat,  such  a  terribly  big  one,  and 
he  gave  a  small  blow  to  it.  The  messenger 
came  out,  and  looked  up  and  down  to  know  could 
he  find  the  man  who  gave  the  blow.  Not  a 
soul  could  he  see  but  a  white-haired  young  child 
standing  near  the  pole.  He  went  into  the  castle 

2C>6  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Who  struck  the  pole?  "  asked  Mucan  Mor. 

"  I  saw  no  one  but  a  small  child  with  white 
hair;  there  is  no  danger  from  him." 

Cud  gave  a  harder  blow. 

"That  blow  is  harder,"  said  Mucan  Mor,  "than 
any  child  can  give.  Go  and  see  who  is  in  it." 

The  man  searched  high  and  low,  and  it  failed 
him  to  find  any  one  but  the  child. 

"  It  would  be  a  wonder  if  you  are  the  one,  you 
little  child,  that  struck  the  blow." 

"What  harm,"  said  the  little  child,  "if  I  gave 
the  pole  a  touch  ?  " 

"Mucan  Mor  is  going  to  dinner  soon,"  said 
the  messenger;  "and  if  you  vex  him  again,  'tis 
yourself  that  he  '11  eat  in  place  of  the  dinner." 

"Is  dinner  ready?  "  asked  Cud. 

"It  is  going  to  be  left  down,"  was  the  answer 
he  got. 

When  the  man  went  in,  Cud  gave  the  pole  a 
hard  blow,  and  did  n't  leave  calf,  foal,  lamb,  kid, 
or  child  awaiting  its  birth,  or  a  bag  of  poor  oats 
or  rye,  that  didn't  turn  five  times  to  the  left, 
and  five  to  the  right  with  the  fright  that  it  got. 
He  made  such  a  noise  and  crash  that  dishes  were 
broken,  knives  hurled  around,  and  the  castle 
shaken  to  its  bottom  stone.  Mucan  Mor  himself 
was  turned  five  times  to  the  left  and  five  to  the 
right  before  he  could  put  the  soles  of  his  feet 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad. 


under  him.  When  he  went  out,  and  saw  the 
small  child,  he  asked,  "Was  it  you  that  struck 
the  pole?" 

"I  gave  it  a  little  tip,"  said  Cud. 

"  You  are  a  child  of  no  sense  to  be  lying  so, 
and  it  is  yourself  that  I  '11  eat  for  my  supper." 

He  thought  he  had  only  to  take  Cud  into  the 
castle,  and  roast  him  on  the  spit.  He  went  to 
catch  the  child;  but  if  he  did,  the  child  faced 
him,  and  soon  they  were  fighting  like  two  bulls 
in  high  grass.  When  it  was  very  late  in  the  day, 
Mucan  Mor  rose  up  in  a  lump  of  fog,  and  Cud 
didn't  know  where  he  had  gone. 

All  Cud  had  to  do  was  to  go  to  the  forest,  and 
gather  twigs  for  a  fire  to  keep  himself  warm 
until  morning.  It  wasn't  many  twigs  he  had 
gathered  when  twelve  swans  came  near  him. 

"  Love  me !  "  said  he.  "  I  believe  ye  are  the 
blessed  birds  that  came  from  my  father's  king- 
dom to  be  food  to  relieve  me  in  need." 

"  Sorry  am  I  that  I  have  ever  looked  on  you 
or  you  on  me,"  said  one  of  the  swans;  and  the 
twelve  rose  and  flew  away. 

Cud  gathered  the  twigs  for  the  fire,  and  dried 
the  blood  in  his  wounds.  In  the  morning,  Mucan 
Mor  struck  his  own  pole  of  combat.  He  and 
Cud  faced  each  other,  and  fought  till  late  in  the 
day,  when  Mucan  Mor  rose  as  a  lump  of  fog  in 

208  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  air.  Cud  went  to  the  forest  as  before  to 
gather  twigs.  It  was  few  he  had  gathered  when 
the  twelve  swans  came  again. 

"Are  ye  the  blessed  birds  from  my  own  king- 
dom ? "  asked  he. 

"No,"  said  one  of  the  swans;  "but  I  put  you 
under  bonds  not  to  turn  me  away  as  you  did  last 

"As  you  put  me  under  bonds,"  said  Cud,  "I 
will  not  turn  you  away." 

The  twelve  began  to  gather  twigs,  and  it  was  n't 
long  till  they  had  a  great  fire  made.  One  of  the 
twelve  sat  at  the  fire  then  with  Cud,  and  said, 
"There  is  nothing  in  the  world  to  kill  Mucan 
Mor  but  a  certain  apple.  For  the  last  three  days 
I  have  been  looking  for  that  apple.  I  found  it 
to-day,  and  have  it  here  for  you.  To-morrow 
you  '11  be  getting  the  upper  hand  of  Mucan  Mor 
earlier  than  other  days.  He  has  no  power  to 
rise  as  a  fog  until  a  given  hour.  When  the  time 
comes,  he  '11  raise  his  two  hands  and  be  striving 
to  go  in  the  air.  If  you  strike  him  then  in  the 
right  side  in  the  ribs  with  the  apple,  you  '11  make 
a  green  stone  of  him.  If  you  do  not,  he  '11  come 
down  and  make  a  green  stone  of  you." 

Cud  took  the  apple,  and  had  great  thanks  for 
the  swan.  She  left  down  the  best  food  then 
before  him.  She  had  the  food  with  her  always. 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  209 

Glad  was  he,  for  he  was  greatly  in  want  of  it  after 
the  fast  of  two  days.  She  put  her  own  wing  and 
head  over  his  head  and  sheltered  him  till  day- 
break. There  wasn't  a  wound  on  him  next 
morning  that  wasn't  cured.  As  early  as  the  day 
dawned  she  roused  him. 

"Be  up  now,"  said  she,  "and  have  the  soles  of 
your  feet  under  you. " 

He  went  first  to  the  pole  and  struck  a  blow 
that  took  three  turns  out  of  the  stomach  of  Mucan 
Mor  and  three  more  out  of  his  brain,  before  he 
could  stand  on  the  soles  of  his  feet,  so  great  was 
the  dread  that  came  on  him. 

They  fought  the  third  day,  and  it  wasn't  very 
late  when  Cud  was  getting  the  upper  hand. 
Mucan  Mor  raised  his  two  arms  toward  the  sky, 
striving  to  escape  in  a  fog  from  his  enemy.  Cud 
struck  him  then  with  the  apple,  and  made  a  green 
stone  of  him.  Hardly  had  he  Mucan  Mor  killed 
when  he  saw  an  old  hag  racing  up;  she  took  one 
hill  at  a  step  and  two  at  a  leap. 

"Your  face  and  your  health  to  you,"  said  the 
hag,  when  she  stood  before  Cud.  "  I  am  looking 
at  you  for  three  days,  fighting  without  food  or 
drink.  I  hope  that  you  '11  come  with  me  now." 

"It's  long  that  you  were  thinking  of  asking 
me,"  said  he. 

"I  hope  you  '11  not  refuse  me,"  said  the  hag. 

2IO  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  will  not,"  replied  Cud. 

"Give  me  your  hand/'  said  the  hag,  "and  I  '11 
help  you  to  walk." 

He  took  the  hag's  hand.  There  wasn't  a 
jump  that  she  gave  while  she  had  a  grip  of  his 
hand  but  he  thought  she  was  dragging  the  arm 
from  him. 

"Curses  on  you  for  an  old  hag!  Is  it  little  I 
have  gone  through  that  you  treat  me  in  this 
way  ? " 

"  I  have  a  cloth  about  my  shoulders.  Go  into 
that,  and  I  will  carry  you/'  said  the  hag. 

There  was  n't  a  joint  in  the  hag's  back  that 
wasn't  three  inches  long  When  she  had  him 
on  her  back  there  was  n't  a  leap  that  she  gave 
that  the  joints  of  her  backbone  were  not  going 
into  Cud's  body, 

"  Hard  luck  to  you  for  a  hag,  after  all  I  have 
gone  through  to  have  me  killed  at  last." 

"You  have  not  far  to  go  now,"  said  she;  and 
after  a  few  leaps  she  was  at  the  end  of  her  jour- 
ney. She  took  him  into  a  grand  castle.  The 
best  table  of  food  that  he  had  ever  set  eyes  on 
was  left  down  there  before  him. 

"  Sit  there,  now,  son  of  the  King  of  Urhu ;  eat 
and  drink." 

"I  have  never  taken  food  without  company," 
said  Cud,  "and  I  will  not  take  it  this  time." 

Ctid,  Cad,  and  Micad.  2 1 1 

"Will  you  eat  with  me?" 

"Bad  luck  to  you  for  a  hag,  I  will  not." 

She  opened  a  door  and  let  in  twelve  pigs,  and 
one  pig,  the  thirteenth,  without  a  head. 

"Will  you  take  food  with  these,  son  of  the 
King  of  Urhu?" 

"Indeed,  then,  old  hag,  bad  as  you  are  your- 
self, I  'd  rather  eat  with  you  than  with  these,  and 
I  '11  not  eat  with  you." 

She  put  them  back,  opened  another  door  and 
let  out  twelve  of  the  rustiest,  foulest,  ugliest  old 
hags  that  man  could  set  eyes  on. 

"Will  you  take  food  with  these?  "  asked  she. 

"Indeed,  then,  I  will  not." 

She  hurried  them  back,  opened  a  door,  and 
brought  out  twelve  beautiful  young  women. 

"Will  you  take  food  with  these?  " 

"These  are  fit  to  take  food  with  any  one,"  said 

They  sat  down  and  ate  with  good-will  and 
pleasure.  When  they  had  the  dinner  eaten  the 
hag  opened  the  door,  and  the  twelve  went  back 
to  their  own  chamber. 

"I  '11  get  great  blame,"  said  the  old  hag,  "for 
all  the  delay  I  've  had.  I  '11  be  going  now." 

"What  trouble  is  on  you  that  you  '11  be  blamed 
for  your  delay? " 

"  Those  twelve  pigs  that  you  saw,"  said  the  hag, 

212  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"are  twelve  sons  of  mine,  and  the  pig  without  a 
head  is  my  husband.  Those  twelve  foul,  yellow 
hags  that  you  saw  are  my  twelve  daughters.  The 
twelve  beautiful  women  who  ate  with  you  are  my 
daughters'  attendants." 

"Why are  your  twelve  sons  and  your  husband 
pigs,  and  your  twelve  daughters  yellow  old 

"The  Awus  in  that  house  there  beyond  has 
them  enchanted  and  held  in  subjection.  There 
isn't  a  night  but  I  must  go  with  a  gold  apple  to 

"  I  will  go  with  you  to-night,"  said  Cud. 

"There  is  no  use  in  going,"  said  the  hag. 

They  were  talking  a  long  time  before  she 
would  let  him  go.  She  went  first,  and  he  fol- 
lowed. She  knocked,  and  they  opened  the  door. 
Cud  was  in  with  her  that  instant.  One  Awus 
rose  and  put  seven  bolts  and  seven  locks  on  the 
door.  Cud  rose  and  put  on  seven  locks  and 
seven  bolts  more.  All  began  to  laugh  when 
they  saw  Cud  doing  this.  The  old  chief,  who 
was  standing  at  the  hearth,  let  such  a  roar  out  of 
him  that  Cud  saw  the  heart  inside  in  his  body. 

"Why  are  you  laughing?  "  asked  Cud. 

"We  think  you  a  nice  bit  of  meat  to  roast  on 
the  spit.  Rise  up,"  said  he  to  a  small  attendant, 
"and  tie  that  fellow." 

Ctid,  Cad,  and  Micad.  213 


The  attendant  rose  and  tried  to  tie  Cud,  but 
soon  Cud  had  him  down  and  tied. 

"Bad  luck  to  you,  'tis  sorry  I  am  that  I  ever 
lost  food  on  the  like  of  you,"  said  the  old  chief 
to  the  small  attendant.  "Rise  up,"  said  he  to  a 
big  attendant,  "and  tie  him." 

The  big  one  rose  up,  and  whatever  time  the 
small  one  lasted,  the  big  one  didn't  last  half  that 
length.  Cud  drew  strings  from  his  pocket  and 
began  tying  the  Awuses.  He  caught  the  old 
Awus  by  the  shins,  dragged  him  down,  and  put 
his  knee  on  him. 

"  You  are  the  best  champion  ever  I  have  seen," 
said  the  old  Awus.  "Give  me  quarter  for  my 
soul;  there  is  never  a  place  where  you  need  it 
but  my  help  will  attend  you  with  bravery.  I  '11 
give  you  also  my  sword  of  light  that  shines  in 
the  dark,  my  pot  of  cure  that  makes  the  dead 
alive,  and  the  rod  of  enchantment  to  help  the 
pot  of  cure." 

"Where  can  I  find  them?  "  asked  Cud. 

"  In  a  hole  in  the  floor  under  the  post  of  my 
bed.  You  cannot  get  them  without  help." 

"  It  cannot  be  but  I  can  do  anything  that  has 
been  done  ever  in  your  house,"  said  Cud. 

With  that  he  went  to  the  bed,  and  whatever 
work  he  had  in  his  life  he  never  found  a  harder 
task  than  to  move  the  post  of  the  bed;  but  he 

214  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

found  the  sword  of  light,  the  pot  of  cure,  and 
the  rod  of  enchantment.  He  came  to  the  Awus 
with  the  sword  in  one  hand,  and  the  two  other 
things  in  the  other  hand. 

"The  head  off  you  now  if  you  don't  take  this 
hag  and  her  family  from  under  enchantment. 
Make  men  and  women  of  her  sons  and  daughters, 
a  king  of  her  husband,  and  a  queen  of  herself  in 
this  kingdom,  while  water  is  running,  and  grass 
is  growing,  and  you  are  to  go  to  them  with  a 
gold  apple  every  evening  and  morning  as  long 
as  you  live  or  any  one  lives  who  comes  after  you 
to  the  end  of  all  ages." 

"I  will  do  that,"  said  the  Awus. 

He  gave  the  word,  and  the  hag  was  as  fine  a 
queen  as  she  was  before.  She  and  Cud  went 
back  to  the  castle.  The  twelve  pigs  were  twelve 
young  men,  and  the  thirteenth  without  a  head 
was  the  king.  She  opened  the  chamber  of  the 
twelve  yellow  hags,  and  they  were  as  beautiful 
as  ever.  All  were  very  grateful  to  Cud  for  the 
good  turn  he  had  done  them. 

"I  had  one  son,"  said  the  queen;  "while  he 
was  here  he  gave  the  old  Awus  enough  to  do." 

"Where  is  he  now?"  inquired  Cud. 

"In  the  Eastern  World,  in  a  field  seven  miles 
in  length,  and  seven  in  width,  and  there  isn't  a 
yard  of  that  field  in  which  a  spike  is  not  standing 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  215 

taller  than  a  man.  There  is  not  a  spike,  except 
one,  without  a  king's  son  or  a  champion  on  it, 
impaled  through  his  chin." 

"  What  name  had  your  son  ?  " 

"Gold  Boot." 

"  I  promise  to  bring  Gold  Boot  here  to  you,  or 
leave  my  own  head  on  the  spike." 

As  early  as  the  day  rose  Cud  was  ready,  and 
away  he  went  walking,  and  very  little  food-  had 
he  with  him.  About  mid-day  he  was  at  the 
enchanted  field,  in  the  Eastern  World.  He  was 
walking  till  he  came  to  Gold  Boot.  When  he 
touched  the  body,  the  foot  gave  him  a  kick  that 
sent  him  seven  acres  and  seven  ridges  away,  and 
put  three  bunches  of  the  blood  of  his  heart  out 
of  him. 

"I  believe  what  your  mother  said,  that  when 
you  were  living  you  were  strong,  and  the  strength 
you  have  now  to  be  in  you." 

"Don't  think  we  are  dead,"  said  Gold  Boot; 
"we  are  not.  It  is  how  we  are  enchanted  and 
unable  to  rise  out  of  this." 

"  What  put  you  in  it  ? "  asked  Cud. 

"A  man  will  come  out  by  and  by  with  pipes, 
making  music,  and  he  '11  bring  so  much  sleep  on 
you  that  he  '11  put  you  on  that  empty  spike,  and 
the  field  will  be  full.  If  you  take  my  advice  you 
will  not  wait  for  him." 

216  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  My  grief  and  my  sorrow  !  I  will  never  stir  till 
I  see  all  that  is  here,"  replied  Cud. 

It  wasn't  long  he  was  waiting  when  the  piper 
came  out,  and  the  very  first  sound  that  he  heard 
Cud  ran  and  caught  the  pipes ;  whatever  music  the 
man  was  making,  Cud  played  seven  times  better. 

When  Cud  took  the  pipes,  the  piper  ran  crying 
into  the  castle  where  the  wizard  was. 

"  What  is  on  you  ?  "  asked  the  wizard. 

"A  man  caught  my  pipes,  and  he  is  a  twice 
better  player  than  what  I  am." 

"Nevermind  that,  take  these  with  you;  these 
are  the  pipes  that  won't  be  long  in  putting  sleep 
on  him." 

When  Cud  heard  the  first  note  of  these  pipes, 
he  struck  the  old  ones  against  a  stone,  and  ran 
and  caught  the  new  pipes.  The  piper  rushed  to 
the  wizard ;  the  old  man  went  out,  threw  himself 
on  his  knees,  and  begged  mercy. 

"Never  give  him  mercy,"  said  Gold  Boot,  "till 
he  burns  the  hill  that  is  standing  out  opposite 

"  You  have  no  pardon  to  get  till  you  set  that 
hill  there  on  fire,"  answered  Cud. 

"That  is  as  bad  for  me  as  to  lose  my  head," 
said  the  wizard. 

"That  same  is  not  far  from  you  unless  you  do 
what  I  bid,"  replied  Cud. 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad.  217 

Sooner  than  lose  his  head  he  lighted  the  hill. 
When  the  hill  began  to  burn,  all  the  men  except 
Gold  Boot  came  from  under  enchantment  as  sound 
as  ever,  and  rose  off  the  spikes.  Every  one  was 
making  away,  and  no  one  asking  who  let  him 
out.  The  hill  was  on  fire  except  one  spot  in 
the  middle  of  it.  Gold  Boot  was  not  stirring. 
"Why  did  you  not  make  him  set  all  the  hill  on 
fire? "  asked  he. 

"Why  did  you  not  set  the  whole  hill  on  fire?  " 
demanded  Cud  of  the  wizard. 

"Is  it  not  all  on  fire?" 

"Do  you  see  the  centre  is  not  burning  yet? " 

"To  see  that  bit  on  fire,"  said  the  wizard,  "is 
as  bad  for  me  as  to  lose  the  head  itself." 

"That  same  is  not  far  from  you,"  said  Cud. 

"Sooner  than  lose  the  head  I  will  light  it." 

That  moment  he  lighted  the  hill,  and  Cud  saw 
the  very  woman  he  saw  the  first  day  sleeping  in  the 
little  boat  come  toward  him  from  the  hill.  He  for- 
got that  he  had  seen  Gold  Boot  or  the  enchanted 
hag  and  her  sons.  The  wizard,  seeing  this, 
stopped  the  centre  fire,  and  Gold  Boot  was  left 
on  the  spike.  Cud  and  the  woman  embraced 
till  they  smothered  each  other  with  kisses  and 
drowned  each  other  with  tears.  After  that  they 
neither  stopped  nor  stayed  till  they  reached  his 
little  ship  and  sailed  away  on  it;  they  never 

2 1 8  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

delayed  till  they  came  to  where  his  two  brothers 
and  sister-in-law  were  under  the  boat.  Cud  took 
out  the  three  bodies,  put  a  drop  of  the  cure  on 
each  one,  and  gave  each  a  blow  of  the  rod.  They 
rose  up  in  good  health  and  sound  vigor.  All 
entered  the  ship  and  sailed  toward  Urhu. 

They  had  only  the  sailing  of  one  day  before 
them,  when  Cud  recollected  his  promise  to  bring 
Gold  Boot  to  his  mother, 

"Take  the  wife  to  Fermalye,"  said  he  to  his 
brothers.  "I  must  go  for  Gold  Boot;  the  king 
will  give  you  food  till  I  come.  If  you  were  to 
go  to  our  own  father  he  'd  think  that  it  is  dead 
I  am." 

Cud  drew  out  his  knife,  cut  a  slip  from  a  stick; 
this  he  threw  into  the  sea.  It  became  a  ship, 
and  away  he  sailed  in  that  ship,  and  never 
stopped  till  he  entered  the  harbor  next  the 
enchanted  field.  When  he  came  to  Gold  Boot 
he  gave  him  a  drop  of  cure  and  a  blow  of  the 
rod.  He  rose  from  the  spike,  well  and  strong. 
The  two  embraced  then,  went  to  the  ship,  and 
sailed  away.  They  had  not  gone  far  when  such 
a  calm  came  that  they  cast  anchor  near  shore, 
and  Gold  Boot  began  to  get  dinner.  It  was  n't 
long  he  was  at  it  when  they  saw  food  at  the  foot 
of  a  tree  on  the  shore. 

"Who  would  be  getting  trouble  with  cooking, 

Cud,   Cad,  and  Micad.  219 

and  such  food  as  that  on  the  shore?"  said  Gold 

"Don't  mind  that  food,"  replied  Cud. 

"Whatever  I  think  of  I  do,"  said  Gold  Boot. 

He  went  to  shore  with  one  jump,  caught  the 
food,  sprang  back,  and  laid  it  down  for  himself 
and  Cud.  When  this  was  done  there  was  food 
seven  times  better  on  the  land  again. 

"  Who  would  taste  of  this,  and  that  table  over 
there?"  cried  Gold  Boot. 

"Never  mind  it,"  said  Cud.  "If  the  man  who 
owns  this  table  was  sleeping  when  you  took  it, 
he  is  not  sleeping  now." 

"Whatever  I  think  of  I  must  do,"  replied  Gold 

"  If  you  did  that  before,  I  will  do  it  now,"  said 
Cud,  and  he  sprang  to  land.  He  looked  up  in 
the  tree,  and  there  he  saw  a  man  ready  to  take 
the  life  from  him. 

"  Grief  and  sorrow  !  "  said  the  man.  "I  thought 
it  was  Gold  Boot  again.  Take  this  table,  with 
welcome,  but  I  hope  you  '11  invite  me  to  dinner." 

"I  will,  indeed,"  said  Cud;  "and  what  name 
am  I  to  give  you  ? " 

"The  Wet  Mantle  Champion." 

Cud  took  one  end  of  the  table  and  the  champion 
the  other.  Out  they  went  to  the  ship  with  one 
bound.  They  sat  down  then  together  with  Gold 

22O  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Boot  at  the  table.  When  dinner  was  over,  the 
wind  rose,  and  they  sailed  on,  never  delaying  till 
they  came  to  the  castle  of  Gold  Boot's  father, 
where  there  was  a  great  welcome  before  them, 
and  thanks  beyond  estimate. 

"  I  will  give  you  half  my  kingdom  while  I  live 
and  all  of  it  when  I  die,"  said  the  king,  "and  the 
choice  of  my  twelve  daughters." 

"Many  thanks  to  you,"  replied  Cud;  "the 
promise  of  marriage  is  on  me  already,  but  per- 
haps Wet  Mantle  is  not  married  or  promised." 

"I  am  not,"  said  Wet  Mantle. 

"You  must  have  my  chance,"  said  Cud. 

Wet  Mantle  took  Cud's  place,  and  the  king 
sent  for  a  big  dish  priest,  and  a  great  wooden 
clerk.  They  came,  and  the  couple  were  married. 
When  the  three  days'  wedding  was  over,  Cud 
went  away  alone.  While  sailing  near  land  he 
saw  a  castle  by  the  sea,  and  as  he  drew  near  he 
wondered  more  and  more.  A  raven  was  going 
in  and  out  at  the  uppermost  window,  and  each 
time  bringing  out  something  white.  Cud  landed, 
walked  up  from  the  strand,  and  went  to  the  top 
of  the  castle.  He  saw  a  woman  there,  and  the 
whole  room  full  of  white  pigeons.  She  was 
throwing  them  one  by  one  from  a  loft  to  the 

"Why  do  you  throw  those  to  the  raven?  "  asked 
Cud  of  the  woman. 

Cud,   Cad,  and  Mi  cad.  221 

"The  raven  is  an  enchanted  brother  of  mine, 
who  comes  to  this  castle  once  in  seven  years. 
I  can  see  him  only  while  I  am  throwing  him 
pigeons.  I  get  as  many  pigeons  as  possible,  to 
keep  him  with  me  while  I  can." 

"Keep  him  for  a  while  yet,"  said  Cud. 

He  rushed  to  the  ship,  took  his  rod,  and  ran 
to  the  loft  where  the  woman  was.  "  Entice  him 
in  further,"  said  Cud. 

Cud  struck  the  raven  a  blow,  and  he  rose  up 
as  fine  a  champion  as  ever  was  seen. 

"Your  blow  on  me  was  good,"  said  the  cham- 
pion, "and  'tis  work  you  have  now  before  you. 
Your  two  brothers  are  killed  and  under  seven 
feet  of  earth  in  Fermalye.  Your  wife  and  her 
sister  are  to  their  knees  in  foul  water  and- filth 
in  the  stable,  and  are  getting  two  mouthfuls  of 
water,and  two  of  bread  in  the  day  till  they  die." 

Cud  did  not  wait  to  hear  more  of  the  story. 
Away  he  went,  and  never  stopped  till  he  came 
to  Fermalye.  When  he  was  coming  to  the  castle 
all  the  children  he  met  he  was  throwing  at  each 
other,  he  was  so  vexed.  He  took  the  wife  and 
sister  out  of  the  stable,  then  dug  up  the  brothers 
and  brought  them  to  life  with  the  rod.  The  five 
made  no  delay  after  that,  but  went  to  the  ship 
and  sailed  to  Urhu.  When  near  land  he  raised 
white  flags  on  every  mast. 

222  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"A  ship  is  coming!"  cried  a  messenger,  run- 
ning to  the  king.  "  I  am  thinking  it  is  Cud  that 
is  in  it." 

"That's  what  I  will  never  believe,"  said  the 
king,  "till  he  puts  his  hand  into  my  hand." 

Since  Cud  left  home,  the  father  and  mother 
had  never  risen  from  the  fireside,  but  were  sitting 
there  always  and  crying.  When  the  ship  was 
three  miles  from  land,  Cud  ran  from  the  stern  to 
the  stem,  sprang  to  land,  ran  into  the  castle, 
gave  one  hand  to  his  mother,  and  the  other  to 
his  father. 

It  wasn't  one  boat,  but  boats,  that  went  out  to 
the  ship  for  the  brothers  and  the  women.  When 
they  came,  all  spent  the  night  with  great  pleasure 
in  the  castle.  Next  day  the  king  sent  seven 
score  of  ships  and  one  ship  to  sea  to  bring  sup- 
plies for  the  wedding.  When  the  ships  came 
back  laden  from  foreign  parts,  he  sent  messen- 
gers to  invite  all  the  people  in  the  kingdom. 
They  were  coming  till  they  blackened  the  hills 
and  spotted  the  valleys.  I  was  there  myself,  and 
we  spent  nine  nights  and  nine  days  in  great  glee 
and  pleasure. 


r  I  ^HERE  was  a  king  in  Hathony  long  ago  who 
had  an  old  castle  by  the  sea.  This  king 
went  out  walking  one  day  along  the  clean, 
smooth  strand,  and,  while  walking,  the  thought 
rose  in  him  to  take  a  sail  near  the  shore.  He 
stepped  into  his  boat  with  attendants  and  men, 
and  was  sailing  about  in  enjoyment  and  pleasure, 
when  a  wind  came  with  a  mist  of  enchantment, 
and  drove  the  boat  away  through  the  sea  with  the 
king  and  his  men. 

They  were  going  before  the  wind,  without  a 
sight  of  sky  or  sea;  no  man  in  the  boat  could  see 
the  man  who  sat  next  to  him.  They  were  that  way 
moving  in  the  mist  without  knowledge  of  where 
they  were,  or  where  they  were  going,  and  the  boat 
never  stopped  till  it  sailed  into  a  narrow  harbor 
in  a  lonely  place  without  house  or  habitation. 

The  king  left  the  boat  well  fastened  at  the 
shore,  and  went  his  way,  walking  till  he  came  to 
a  castle,  and  what  castle  should  it  be  but  the 
castle  of  King  Conor,  in  Erin. 

224  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

King  Conor  received  the  King  of  Hathony 
with  great  hospitality  and  welcome. 

When  the  two  had  spent  some  days  in  com- 
pany, they  became  great  friends,  and  made  a 
match  between  their  two  children.  The  King 
of  Hathony  had  a  daughter  called  Bloom  of 
Youth,  who  was  nine  years  of  age,  and  King 
Conor  had  a  son  ten  years  old,  named  Cahal. 

When  the  King  of  Hathony  wished  to  go  back 
to  his  own  land,  King  Conor  of  Erin  gave  a  ship 
to  him,  and  the  king  sailed  away  with  good 
wishes  and  with  supplies  for  a  day  and  a  year. 

Bloom  of  Youth  grew  up  in  such  beauty  that 
she  had  not  her  equal  in  Hathony  or  in  other 
lands,  and  Cahal,  King  Conor's  son,  became 
such  a  hero  that  no  man  knew  was  the  like 
of  him  in  any  place. 

On  a  day  Cahal  said  to  his  father,  "  Make  up 
some  treasure  for  me  and  stores  for  my  ship.  I 
must  leave  home  now  and  be  travelling  through 
the  world  till  I  know  is  there  a  better  man  than 
myself  in  it." 

"It  is,  indeed,  time  for  you  to  be  going,"  said 
King  Conor,  "  for  in  three  years  you  are  to  marry 
Bloom  of  Youth,  the  daughter  of  the  King  of 
Hathony,  and  you  should  be  making  out  the 
place  now  where  her  father  lives." 

Next  morning   Cahal  took  what  treasures  his 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          225 

father  gave  him,  and  provisions,  went  to  his  ship 
and  raised  sails.  Away  he  went  on  his  voyage, 
sailing  over  the  sea  in  one  way  and  another,  in 
this  direction  and  that.  He  sailed  one  year  and 
three-quarters  of  a  second  year,  but  found  no  man 
to  give  tale  or  tidings  of  the  King  of  Hathony. 

Once  on  a  gloomy  day  he  was  sailing  along 
through  the  waves,  when  a  strong  north  wind 
rose,  and  blew  with  such  force  that  he  let  his 
ship  go  with  it. 

Three  days  and  nights  the  ship  went  before 
the  north  wind,  and  on  the  fourth  day,  in  the 
morning,  it  was  thrown  in  on  a  rocky  coast. 

Cahal  saved  his  life  and  his  sword,  and  went 
away  walking  through  the  country.  On  the 
evening  of  the  fifth  day  he  came  to  an  old  castle 
near  the  seashore,  and  said  to  himself,  "I  will 
not  go  in  here  to  ask  for  lodgings  like  any  poor 
traveller."  With  that  he  walked  up  and  put  a 
blow  on  the  pole  of  combat  that  made  the  whole 
castle  tremble. 

Out  rushed  the  messenger.  "What  brought 
you  here,  and  what  do  you  want?"  asked  he  of 
King  Conor's  son. 

"  I  want  men  to  meet  me  in  combat,  seven 
hundred  champions  on  my  right  hand,  seven 
hundred  on  my  left,  seven  hundred  behind  me, 
and  the  same  number  in  front  of  me." 


226  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  man  ran  in  and  gave  the  message  to  the 

"Oh,"  said  the  King  of  Hathony,  "that  is  my 
son-in-law  from  Erin;"  and  out  he  went. 

"Are  you  the  son  of  King  Conor?  "  asked  the 

"lam,"  said  Cahal. 

"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,"  said 
the  king. 

"  Thankful  am  I  for  the  welcomes,  and  glad  to 
receive  them,"  said  Cahal.  "I  had  great  trouble 
in  coming;  it  is  not  easy  to  find  you." 

"  It  is  not  easy  to  find  any  man  unless  you 
know  the  road  to  his  house,"  said  the  king. 

There  was  great  feasting  that  night  and  enter- 
tainment for  Cahal.  Next  day  the  king  said, 
"Your  bride,  my  daughter,  is  gone  these  two 
months.  Striker,  son  of  the  King  of  Tricks, 
came  to  my  castle  and  stole  her  away  from  me." 

"  My  word  for  it,  he  will  not  keep  her  unless 
he  is  a  better  man- than  I  am,"  said  Cahal. 

"I  am  sure  of  that,"  said  the  king,  "and  I  said 

"  My  own  ship  was  wrecked  on  your  coast,  and 
now  you  must  give  me  another  in  place  of  it," 
said  Cahal. 

"I  will,"  said  the  king,  "and  a  good  one;  but 
you  can  do  nothing  on  sea  against  Striker." 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          227 

"  I  am  more  used  to  the  sea  now  than  to  land, 
I  am  so  long  on  it,"  answered  Cahal. 

"  If  you  were  born  on  the  water  and  had  lived 
every  day  of  your  life  on  it,  you  could  do  nothing 
at  sea  against  Striker.  There  is  not  a  man  living 
who  can  face  him  at  sea." 

Nothing  would  satisfy  Cahal  but  to  go  against 
Striker  by  sea;  so  he  took  the  ship  which  the 
king  gave  and  sailed  away,  sailed  week  after 
week  till  he  was  within  a  day's  journey  of 
Striker's  castle.  Striker  thrust  his  head  up 
through  the  top  of  the  castle  then,  and  let  a 
blast  out  through  his  mouth  that  sent  Cahal's 
ship  back  twice  the  distance  it  had  come. 

King  Conor's  son  sailed  forward  again,  and 
again  Striker  blew  him  back  as  far  as  he  had 
the  first  time. 

Cahal  sailed  now  to  the  castle  of  the  King  of 

"I  said  that  you  could  do  nothing  against 
Striker  on  sea.  If  you  wish  to  get  the  upper 
hand  of  him  I  will  tell  you  what  to  do.  Take 
this  bridle  and  shake  it  behind  the  castle;  what- 
ever beast  comes  to  you  take  that  one,  and  ride 
away  against  Striker." 

When  Cahal  shook  the  bridle,  out  came  the 
smallest  and  ugliest  beast  in  the  stables,  a  lean, 
shaggy  mare. 

228  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Oh,  then,  bad  luck  to  you  for  coming,"  said 
the  king's  son,  "and  so  many  fine  steeds  in  the 

"That  is  the  pony  my  daughter  used  to  ride, 
that  is  the  best  horse  in  the  stables;  take  her. 
She  is  not  easy  to  ride  though,  for  she  is  full 
of  tricks  and  enchantment,  but  if  you  are  the 
right  man  she'll  not  throw  you.  She  goes  on 
water  as  well  as  land,  and  you  will  be  at  your 
enemy's  castle  to-day." 

Cahal  mounted,  and  away  went  the  mare.  She 
crossed  one  hill  at  the  first  leap,  three  at  the 
second,  then  twelve  hills  and  valleys  at  the  third 
leap ;  went  over  land  and  sea,  and  never  stopped 
till  she  was  in  front  of  Striker's  castle,  two  hours 
before  sunset. 

Cahal  sprang  from  the  mare,  and  struck  the 
pole  of  combat. 

"  What  do  you  want  ? "  asked  the  attendant, 
running  out. 

"  I  want  seven  hundred  champions  in  combat 
at  my  right  side,  seven  hundred  at  my  left,  seven 
hundred  behind  me,  and  seven  hundred  out  before 
my  face. " 

The  attendant  went  in,  and  out  came  the 
twenty-eight  hundred  against  Cahal. 

He  went  at  the  champions,  and  before  sunset 
he  had  them  in  three  heaps,  a  heap  of  their 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          229 

bodies,  a  heap  of  their  heads,  and  a  heap  of  their 

Next  morning  Cahal  struck  the  pole  again. 

"What  do  you  want  this  time?"  asked  the 

"  Seven  thousand  champions  against  me  for 
every  hundred  that  I  had  yesterday." 

Out  came  the  champions  in  thousands.  As 
they  were  corning  Cahal  was  going  through  them, 
and  before  the  day  was  ended  he  had  them  in 
three  heaps  without  leaving  a  man,  a  heap  of 
their  heads,  a  heap  of  their  bodies,  and  a  heap 
of  their  weapons. 

He  struck  the  pole  on  the  third  morning,  and 
before  the  attendant  had  time  to  open  his  mouth, 
Cahal  shouted,  "Send  out  every  man  in  the 
place.  I  may  as  well  spend  one  day  on  them 
all  as  to  be  calling  for  champions  occasion- 

The  forces  of  Striker,  son  of  the  King  of 
Tricks,  were  coming  as  fast  as  ever  they  could 
make  their  way  through  the  gates.  They  were 
rushing  at  Cahal  like  showers  of  hail  on  a  stormy 
day,  but  they  could  neither  kill  him  nor  get  the 
upper  hand.  They  could  neither  defend  them- 
selves nor  hurt  him,  and  Cahal  never  stopped  till 
he  had  them  all  in  a  heap  at  one  side. 

Cahal  struck  the  pole  on  the  fourth  day. 

230  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  What  do  you  want  now  ?  "  asked  the  atten- 

"  Striker,  son  of  the  King  of  Tricks,  in  combat 
before  me. " 

Out  came  Striker,  and  fell  upon  Cahal.  The 
two  fought  seven  days  and  six  nights  without 
stopping  or  resting,  then  Striker  called  for  a 
truce  and  got  it.  He  went  into  his  castle,  healed 
himself  in  his  caldron  of  cure,  ate  enough,  slept, 
and  was  as  fresh  as  ever  next  morning.  They 
spent  three  days  and  two  nights  in  combat  after 
that  without  rest. 

Striker  called  for  cessation  a  second  time  and 
got  it.  On  the  eleventh  morning  a  goldfinch 
perched  opposite  Cahal  and  said,  "Bad  luck  to 
you  for  a  foolish  young  man  to  be  giving  your 
enemy  rest,  time  to  eat,  drink,  and  cure  himself, 
and  you  lying  outside  at  the  foot  of  the  wall  in 
hunger  and  cold.  Keep  him  working  till  he 
yields.  Give  him  no  rest  till  you  snatch  from 
his  breast  the  pin  which  he  has  in  the  left  side 
of  it." 

They  were  struggling  four  days  and  nights 
without  rest  or  cessation  till  the  fifth  morning, 
when  Cahal  snatched  the  pin  from  the  bosom  of 

"  Oh,  spare  my  life !  "  cried  Striker.  "  I  '11  be 
your  servant  in  every  place,  only  spare  me." 

Cakal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          231 

"I  want  nothing  of  you,"  said  Cahal,  "but 
this:  Send  out  my  bride  to  me;  you  took  her 
from  her  father,  the  King  of  Hathony,  and  she 
was  to  be  my  wife  soon  when  you  took  her.  Send 
her  to  me,  and  put  no  fog  or  enchantment  on  us 
while  we  are  on  the  way  home." 

"You  ask  more  than  I  can  give,"  said  Striker, 
"for  Wet  Mantle,  the  hero,  took  that  maiden 
from  me  two  months  ago.  When  going,  she  put 
him  under  bonds  not  to  molest  her  for  two  days 
and  two  years." 

"Where  can  I  find  Wet  Mantle? " 

"That  is  more  than  I  can  tell;  but  put  your 
nose  before  you  and  follow  it." 

"That 's  a  short  answer,  and  I  would  take  your 
life  for  three  straws  on  account  of  it;  but  I'll 
let  some  other  man  have  his  chance  to  take  the 
head  off  you." 

Cahal  mounted  his  mare  then,  and  was  travel- 
ling over  seas  and  dry  land,  —  travelling  a  long 
time  till  he  came  at  last  to  Wet  Mantle's  castle. 
He  struck  the  pole  of  combat,  and  out  came  the 

"Who  are  you,  and  what  do  you  want? " 

"  Seven  hundred  at  my  right  hand,  seven  hun- 
dred at  my  left,  seven  hundred  behind  me,  and 
seven  hundred  before  my  face." 

"That  's  more  men  than  you  can  find  in  this 

232  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

place,"  said  the  messenger.  "Wet  Mantle  lives 
here  in  his  own  way,  without  forces  or  company; 
he  keeps  no  man  but  me,  and  is  very  well 

"Go  then,"  said  Cahal,  "and  tell  him  to  come 
out  himself  to  me." 

Wet  Mantle  came  out,  and  the  two  fought  seven 
days  and  six  nights.  Wet  Mantle  called  for  a 
truce  then  and  got  it.  The  hero  went  to  his 
castle,  cured  himself,  and  was  as  fresh  the  eighth 
morning  as  the  first.  They  began  to  fight,  and 
the  struggle  continued  three  days  and  two  nights. 
Wet  Mantle  called  for  a  truce,  and  received  it  the 
second  time.  On  the  eleventh  morning  he  was 
well  again,  and  ready  for  the  struggle. 

"  Oh,  then,  it  is  foolish  and  simple  you  are, 
and  small  good  in  your  travelling  the  world," 
cried  a  goldfinch  to  Cahal.  "Why  are  you  out 
here  in  hunger  and  cold,  and  he  cured  and  fresh 
in  his  castle?  Give  him  no  rest  the  next  time, 
but  fight  till  you  tire  him  and  take  the  mantle 
from  him.  He  '11  be  as  weak  as  a  common  man 
then,  for  it  is  in  the  mantle  his  strength  is." 

On  the  eleventh  morning  they  began  for  the 
third  time  and  fought  fiercely  all  day.  In  the 
evening  Wet  Mantle  called  for  a  rest. 

"No,"  said  Cahal,  "you  '11  get  no  rest.  There 
is  no  rest  for  either  of  us.  You  must  fight  till 
you  or  I  yield." 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          233 

They  fought  on  till  the  following  evening. 
Wet  Mantle  called  for  rest  a  second  time. 

"No  rest  till  this  battle  is  ended,"  cried 

They  held  on  all  that  night  venomously,  and 
were  righting  at  noon  of  the  following  day. 
Then  Cahal  closed  on  his  enemy,  and  tore  the 
mantle  from  his  body. 

The  hero  without  his  mantle  had  no  more 
strength  than  a  common  man. 

"  You  are  the  best  champion  that  ever  I  have 
met,"  said  he  to  Cahal.  "  I  will  give  you  all  that 
you  ask,  but  don't  kill  me." 

"  I  have  no  wish  to  kill  or  to  hurt  you,  though 
good  treatment  is  not  what  you  deserve  from  me. 
You  caused  me  great  trouble  and  hardship  search- 
ing and  travelling,  not  knowing  where  to  find 
you.  I  want  nothing  of  you  but  my  bride,  and 
your  promise  not  to  put  fog  or  magic  on  us  or 
harm  us  until  we  reach  Erin  in  safety." 

"That  is  more  than  I  can  promise,"  said  Wet 

"  Why  so?"  asked  Cahal. 

"The  gruagach,  Long  Sweeper,  took  that 
maiden  from  me,  and  she  put  him  under  bonds 
not  to  molest  her,  or  come  near  her  for  three 
days  and  three  years. " 

"Where  can  I  find  Long  Sweeper?" 

234  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"That  is  more  than  I  can  tell,"  said  Wet 
Mantle.  "The  world  is  wide,  you  have  free  pas- 
sage through  it,  and  you  can  be  going  this  way 
and  that  till  you  find  him;  he  lives  in  a  very 
high  castle,  and  he  is  a  tall  man  himself;  he  has 
a  very  long  broom,  and  when  he  likes  he  sweeps 
the  sky  with  that  broom  three  times  in  the  morn- 
ing, and  the  day  that  he  sweeps,  there  is  no  man 
in  the  world  that  can  contradict  him  or  conquer 

Cahal  went  riding  his  pony  from  the  north  to 
the  south,  from  the  east  to  the  west,  and  west  to 
east,  three  years  and  two  days.  At  daylight  of 
the  third  day  he  saw  a  tall  castle  in  the  ocean 
before  him.  So  tall  was  the  castle  that  he  could 
not  tell  the  height  of  it,  and  a  man  on  the  sum- 
mit twice  as  tall  as  the  castle  itself,  and  he  with 
a  broom  sweeping  the  sky. 

"Ah,"  said  Cahal  to  himself,  "  I  have  you  at 

He  rode  forward  then  to  the  castle,  and  struck 
the  pole  of  combat. 

"  What  do  you  want  ?  "  asked  the  messenger. 

"I  want  men  to  meet  me  in  combat." 

"Well,  that  is  what  you'll  not  get  in  this 
place.  There  is  no  man  living  on  this  island  but 
Long  Sweeper  and  myself.  The  Black  Horse- 
man came  from  the  Western  World  three  months 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.  235 

ago,  and  killed  every  man,  gave  Long  Sweeper 
great  hardship  and  trouble,  and  after  terrible 
fighting  got  the  upper  hand  of  him." 

"Well,  if  he  has  no  men,  let  him  come  out 
himself,  for  I  '11  never  leave  the  spot  till  I  knock 
satisfaction  out  of  Long  Sweeper  for  the  trouble 
he  gave  me  before  I  could  find  him." 

Long  Sweeper  came  out,  and  they  began  to 
fight;  they  fought  for  seven  days  and  six  nights. 
Toward  evening  of  the  seventh  day  Long  Sweeper 
called  for  rest  and  got  it.  He  went  into  his  high 
castle,  ate,  drank,  healed  himself  in  his  caldron 
of  cure,  and  slept  well  and  soundly,  while  Cahal 
had  to  rest  as  best  he  was  able  on  the  ground 
beyond  the  wall.  The  eighth  morning  Long 
Sweeper  went  up  on  his  castle  and  swept  the  sky 
back  and  forth  three  times,  and  got  such  strength 
that  no  man  on  earth  could  overcome  him  that 

They  fought  three  days  and  two  nights,  and 
fought  all  the  time  without  rest.  Long  Sweeper 
called  for  rest  then  and  got  it,  and  was  cured  and 
refreshed  as  before.  Next  morning  he  mounted 
the  castle,  swept  the  sky  three  times  with  his 
broom,  and  was  ready  for  combat. 

Before  Long  Sweeper  came,  the  goldfinch 
perched  in  front  of  Cahal  and  said,  "Misfortune 
to  you,  son  of  King  Conor  in  Erin;  't  is  to  a  bad 

236  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

place  you  came  with  your  life  to  lose  it,  and 
is  n't  it  foolish  of  you  to  give  your  enemy  rest, 
while  yourself  has  nothing  to  lie  on  but  the 
earth,  and  nothing  to  put  in  your  mouth  but  cold 
air?  Give  neither  rest  nor  truce  to  your  enemy. 
He  will  be  losing  strength  till  three  days  from 
now.  If  he  gets  no  chance  to  sweep  the  sky, 
he  '11  be  no  better  than  a  common  man." 

That  evening  Long  Sweeper  called  for  rest. 

"No,"  said  Cahal,  "you'll  get  no  rest  from 
me.  We  must  fight  till  either  one  or  the  other 

"That 's  not  fair  fighting." 

"  It  is  not,  indeed.  I  am  ten  days  and  nights 
without  food,  drink,  or  rest,  while  you  have  had 
them  twice.  We  have  not  fought  fairly  so  far, 
but  we  will  hereafter.  You  must  remain  as  you 
are  now  till  one  of  us  is  conquered." 

They  were  fighting  till  noon,  the  thirteenth 
day.  "I  am  beaten,"  said  Long  Sweeper. 
"Whatever  I  have  I  am  willing  to  give  you,  but 
spare  my  life,  for  if  there  is  a  good  hero  in  the 
world  you  are  he. " 

"I  want  nothing  of  you,"  said  Cahal,  "but  to 
send  out  to  me  my  bride,  Bloom  of  Youth, 
daughter  of  the  King  of  Hathony,  the  maiden 
you  took  from  Wet  Mantle.  You  have  caused 
me  great  hardship  and  trouble,  but  I  '11  let  some 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          237 

one  else  take  your  life,  or  may  you  live  as  you 

"I  cannot  send  out  your  bride,"  said  Long 
Sweeper,  "for  she  is  not  in  my  castle.  The 
Black  Horseman  took  her  from  me  three  months 

"Where  am  I  to  find  that  man  ?  " 

"  I  might  tell  you  to  put  your  nose  before  you 
and  walk  after  it,  but  I  will  not;  I  will  give 
you  a  guide.  Here  is  a  rod;  whichever  way  the 
rod  turns,  follow  it  till  you  come  to  the  Western 
World,  where  the  Black  Horseman  lives." 

Cahal  mounted  his  mare,  made  off  with  the 
rod  in  his  hand,  and  rode  straight  to  the  Black 
Horseman's  castle.  The  messenger  was  in  front 
of  the  castle  before  him. 

"Tell  your  master  to  send  out  champions 
against  me,  or  to  come  himself,"  said  Cahal. 

That  moment  the  Black  Horseman  himself  was 
on  the  threshold.  "I  am  here  all  alone,"  said 
he  to  Cahal.  "  I  have  lost  all  my  wealth,  all  my 
men,  all  my  magic.  I  am  now  in  a  poor  state, 
though  I  was  living  pleasantly  and  in  greatness 
after  the  conflict  in  which  I  got  the  better  of 
Long  Sweeper.  It 's  rich  and  strong  I  was  after 
parting  with  that  man,  and  I  was  waiting  here 
to  marry  when  White  Beard  from  the  Western 
World  came,  made  war  on  me,  and  continued  it 

238  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

for  a  day  and  a  year ;  then  he  left  me  poor  and 
lonely,  as  I  am  at  this  moment." 

"Well,"  said  Cahal,  "you  have  caused  me 
great  labor  and  hardship;  but  Task  nothing  of 
you  except  to  send  out  my  bride,  Bloom  of 
Youth,  to  me,  and  not  to  bring  fog  or  magic  on 
her  or  on  me  till  we  reach  home  in  safety." 

"White  Beard  took  your  bride  from  me,  and 
he  cannot  marry  her  for  four  days  and  four  years, 
for  she  put  him  under  bond  not  to  do  so.  I  will 
tell  you  now  how  to  find  her.  Do  you  see  that 
broad  river  in  front  of  us?  It  flows  from  the 
Northern  to  the  Southern  World,  and  there  is 
no  way  to  cross  it  unless  a  good  hero  does  so  by 
springing  from  one  bank  to  the  other.  When 
White  Beard  took  the  maiden  from  me,  they 
walked  to  the  brink  of  the  river;  he  placed  the 
woman  then  on  his  shoulder  and  sprang  over  the 
river  to  the  west.  '  Let  me  down,  now,'  said 
the  woman.  '  I  will  not,'  replied  White  Beard, 
'  I  have  such  regard  for  you  that  I  will  show  you 
every  place  on  the  road. '  He  did  not  let  her 
down  till  he  showed  her  everything  between  the 
river  and  the  castle.  'You  may  come  down,' 
said  he,  when  they  entered  the  castle  (she  could 
see  everything  from  his  shoulder,  but  nothing 
from  the  ground).  When  coming  down  she 
thrust  a  sleeping  pin  that  she  had  in  the  head 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.  239 

of  the  old  man,  and  he  fell  fast  asleep  standing 
there.  She  has  whatever  she  wishes  to  eat  or 
to  drink  in  the  castle.  All  is  in  a  mist  of 
enchantment.  She  can  see  nothing  outside  the 
castle,  but  everything  within.  That  was  my 
home  at  one  time.  I  was  born  and  reared  in  that 
castle,  and  lived  in  it  till  White  Beard  drove  me 
away  with  magic  and  violence.  I  came  to  this 
place  and  lived  here  a  time  without  trouble,  till 
I  took  Bloom  of  Youth  from  Long  Sweeper. 
I  was  waiting  to  marry  her,  when  White  Beard 
came,  destroyed  all  my  forces,  took  away  my 
enchantment,  carried  off  Bloom  of  Youth,  and 
left  me  here  without  strength  or  defence.  But 
one  thing  is  left  me,  and  that  I  will  give  you. 
Here  is  a  torch.  When  you  cross  the  river,  light 
it.  You  '11  find  the  road,  and  no  one  has  found 
it  since  I  was  there.  When  you  light  the  torch 
follow  the  road  to  an  old  cottage,  at  one  side 
from  the  castle.  In  this  cottage  is  a  henwife, 
who  has  lived  there  since  my  childhood.  She 
will  show  the  way  to  the  castle  and  back  to  her 
cottage.  From  there  you  may  journey  homeward 
in  safety,  by  lighting  the  torch  a  second  time, 
and  keeping  it  till  you  ride  out  of  the  castle's 
enchantment.  This  is  all  I  have  to  tell  you." 

Cahal   rode  briskly  to  the  river,    rode  across, 
lighted  his  torch  on  the  other  side,  saw  a  narrow 

240  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

bright  road,  but  nothing  on  either  side.  The 
road  was  a  long  one,  but  he  came  to  the  end  of 
it  at  the  door  of  the  henwife's  old  cottage.  Cahal 
greeted  the  henwife. 

"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes,"  said  the  old 
woman.  "You  are  here  from  my  master,  the 
Black  Horseman,  or  you  could  not  be  in  it.  Can 
I  help  you  in  any  way?  " 

"  I  want  nothing  of  you  but  to  show  me  the 
way  to  the  castle  of  White  Beard,  where  my  bride 
is,  and  then  bring  me  back  to  this  place." 

"Follow  me,"  said  the  henwife,  "and  leave 
your  horse  here." 

She  took  Cahal  by  the  hand  and  went  forward 
till  she  came  to  the  castle  and  entered  it.  There 
Cahal  saw  the  finest  woman  that  ever  he  had  met 
in  the  world.  "Well,"  said  he  to  himself,  "I 
am  not  sorry,  after  all  my  troubles  and  hardships, 
if  you  are  the  woman  I  am  to  marry. " 

"A  greeting  to  you,  young  hero,"  said  the 
woman.  "Who  are  you  who  have  been  able  to 
come  to  this  castle,  and  why  are  you  here  ?  " 

"My  name  is  Cahal,  son  of  King  Conor,  in 
Erin.  I  am  long  travelling  and  fighting  to  find 
and  to  rescue  my  bride,  Bloom  of  Youth,  daugh- 
ter of  the  King  of  Hathony.  Who  are  you,  fair 
lady  ?  "  asked  Cahal. 

"  I  am  the  daughter  of  the  King  of   Hathony. 

Cahal  and  Bloom  of  Youth.          241 

The  day  before  I  was  taken  by  Striker,  son  of 
the  King  of  Tricks,  my  father  told  me  that  the 
son  of  King  Conor,  in  Erin,  was  betrothed  to 
me.  You,  I  suppose,  are  that  man  ?  " 

"I  am,"  said  Cahal.  "Come  with  me  now,  I 
will  free  you;  but  what  are  we  to  do  with  White 

"  Leave  him  as  he  is.  There  is  no  knowing 
what  he  would  do  should  we  rouse  him." 

The  two  went  with  the  henwife  to  her  cottage. 
Cahal  lighted  the  torch  a  second  time,  mounted 
the  mare,  put  Bloom  of  Youth  in  front,  rode  first 
to  Hathony,  and  then  home  to  Erin. 

King  Conor  made  a  great  feast  of  welcome  for 
Cahal  and  his  bride.  There  were  seven  hundred 
guests  at  the  short  table,  eight  hundred  at  the 
long  table,  nine  hundred  at  the  round  table,  and 
a  thousand  in  the  grand  hall.  I  was  there  and 
heard  the  whole  story,  but  got  no  present  except 
shoes  of  paper  and  stockings  of  buttermilk,  and 
these  a  herder  stole  from  me  in  crossing  the 



/^\NCE  upon  a  time,  and  a  long  time  ago  it 
was,  there  lived  an  old  woman  in  Erin. 
This  old  woman's  house  was  at  the  northeast 
corner  of  Mount  Brandon.  Of  all  the  friends 
and  relatives  that  ever  she  had  in  the  world 
there  was  but  one  left,  her  only  son,  Sean,1 
nicknamed  Fuarcosa  (Coldfeet). 

The  reason  that  people  called  the  boy  Coldfeet 
was  this  :  When  a  child  he  was  growing  always  ; 
what  of  him  did  not  grow  one  hour  grew  an- 
other; what  did  not  grow  in  the  day  grew  in  the 
night;  what  did  not  grow  in  the  night  grew 
in  the  day;  and  he  grew  that  fast  that  when 
seven  years  old  he  could  not  find  room  enough 
in  his  mother's  house.  When  night  came  and 
he  was  sleeping,  whatever  corner  of  the  house 
his  head  was  in,  it  was  out  of  doors  that  his 
feet  were,  and,  of  course,  they  were  cold,  espe- 
cially in  winter. 

1  Pronounce  Shawn,  —  John. 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.  243 

It  was  not  long  till  his  legs  as  well  as  his  feet 
were  out  of  the  house,  first  to  the  knees,  and 
then  to  the  body.  When  fifteen  years  old  it 
was  all  that  he  could  do  to  put  his  head  in,  and 
he  lived  outdoors  entirely.  What  the  mother 
could  gather  in  a  year  would  not  support  the  son 
for  a  day,  he  was  that  large  and  had  such  an 

Coldfeet  had  to  find  his  own  food,  and  he  had 
no  means  of  living  but  to  bring  home  sheep  and 
bullocks  from  whatever  place  he  met  them. 

He  was  going  on  in  this  way,  faring  rather 
ill  than  well,  when  one  day  above  another  he 
said,  "  I  think  I  must  go  into  the  great  world, 
mother.  I  am  half  starving  in  this  place.  I  can 
do  little  good  for  myself  as  I  am,  and  no  good 
at  all  for  you." 

He  rose  early  next  morning,  washed  his  face 
and  hands,  asked  assistance  and  protection  of 
God,  and  if  he  did  not,  may  we.  He  left  good, 
health  with  his  mother  at  parting,  and  away  he 
went,  crossing  high  hills,  passing  low  dales,  and 
kept  on  his  way  without  halt  or  rest,  the  clear 
day  going  and  the  dark  night  coming,  taking 
lodgings  each  evening  wherever  he  found  them, 
till  at  last  he  came  to  a  high  roomy  castle. 

He  entered  the  castle  without  delaying  out- 
side, and  when  he  went  in,  the  owner  asked  was 
he  a  servant  in  search  of  a  master. 

244  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  am  in  search  of  a  master,"  said  Coldfeet. 

He  engaged  to  herd  cows  for  small  hire  and 
his  keeping,  and  the  time  of  his  service  was  a 
day  and  a  year. 

Next  morning,  when  Coldfeet  was  driving  the 
cattle  to  pasture,  his  master  was  outside  in  the 
field  before  him,  and  said,  "  You  must  take  good 
care  of  yourself,  for  of  all  the  herders  who  took 
service  with  me  never  a  man  but  was  killed  by 
one  or  another  of  four  giants  who  live  next  to  my 
pastures.  One  of  these  giants  has  four,  the  next 
six,  the  third  eight,  and  the  fourth  twelve  heads 
on  him." 

"By  my  hand  !  "  said  Coldfeet,  "  I  did  not  come 
here  to  be  killed  by  the  like  of  them.  They  will 
not  hurt  me,  never  fear. " 

Coldfeet  went  on  with  the  cattle,  and  when  he 
came  to  the  boundary  he  put  them  on  the  land 
of  the  giants.  The  cows  were  not  long  grazing 
when  one  of  the  giants  at  his  castle  caught  the 
odor  of  the  strange  herder  and  rushed  out. 
When  coming  at  a  distance  he  shouted,  "I  smell 
the  blood  of  a  man  from  Erin;  his  liver  and 
lights  for  my  supper  to-night,  his  blood  for  my 
morning  dram,  his  jawbones  for  stepping-stones, 
his  shins  for  hurleys  !  " 

When  the  giant  came  up  he  cried,  "Ah,  that 
is  you,  Coldfeet,  and  was  n't  it  the  impudence 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.  245 

in  you  to  come  here  from  the  butt  of  Brandon 
Mountain  and  put  cattle  on  my  land  to  annoy 

"It  is  n't  to  give  satisfaction  to  you  that  I  am 
here,  but  to  knock  satisfaction  out  of  your  bones," 
said  Coldfeet. 

With  that  the  giant  faced  the  herder,  and  the 
two  went  at  each  other  and  fought  till  near 
evening.  They  broke  old  trees  and  bent  young 
ones ;  they  made  hard  places  soft  and  soft  places 
hard;  they  made  high  places  low  and  low  places 
high;  they  made  spring  wells  dry,  and  brought 
water  through  hard,  gray  rocks  till  near  sunset, 
when  Coldfeet  took  the  heads  off  the  giant  and 
put  the  four  skulls  in  muddy  gaps  to  make  a  dry, 
solid  road  for  the  cows. 

Coldfeet  drove  out  his  master's  cattle  on  a 
second,  third,  and  fourth  morning;  each  day  he 
killed  a  giant,  each  day  the  battle  was  fiercer, 
but  on  the  fourth  evening  the  fourth  giant  was 

On  the  fifth  day  Coldfeet  was  not  long  on  the 
land  of  the  dead  giants  when  a  dreadful  enchanted 
old  hag  came  out  against  him,  and  she  raging 
with  anger.  She  had  nails  of  steel  on  her 
fingers  and  toes,  each  nail  of  them  weighing 
seven  pounds. 

"Oh,     you     insolent,     bloodthirsty     villain," 

246  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

screamed  she,  "to  come  all  the  way  from  Bran- 
don Mountain  to  kill  my  young  sons,  and,  poor 
boys,  only  that  timber  is  dear  in  this  country 
it  's  in  their  cradles  they  'd  be  to-day  instead  of 
being  murdered  by  you. " 

"It  isn't  to  give  satisfaction  to  you  that  I  'm 
here,  you  old  witch,  but  to  knock  it  out  of  your 
wicked  old  bones,"  said  Coldfeet. 

"Glad  would  I  be  to  tear  you  to  pieces,"  said 
the  hag;  "but  'tis  better  to  get  some  good  of 
you  first.  I  put  you  under  spells  of  heavy 
enchantment  that  you  cannot  escape,  not  to  eat 
two  meals  off  the  one  table  nor  to  sleep  two 
nights  in  the  one  house  till  you  go  to  the  Queen 
of  Lonesome  Island,  and  bring  the  sword  of  light 
that  never  fails,  the  loaf  of  bread  that  is  never 
eaten,  and  the  bottle  of  water  that  is  never 

"Where  is  Lonesome  Island?"  asked  Coldfeet. 

"  Follow  your  nose,  and  make  out  the  place 
with  your  own  wit,"  said  the  hag. 

Coldfeet  drove  the  cows  home  in  the  evening, 
and  said  to  his  master,  "The  giants  will  never 
harm  you  again;  all  their  heads  are  in  the  muddy 
gaps  from  this  to  the  end  of  the  pasture,  and 
there  are  good  roads  now  for  your  cattle.  I 
have  been  with  you  only  five  days,  but  another 
would  not  do  my  work  in  a  day  and  a  year;  pay 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.    247 

me  my  wages.  You  '11  never  have  trouble  again 
in  finding  men  to  mind  cattle." 

The  man  paid  Coldfeet  his  wages,  gave  him  a 
good  suit  of  clothes  for  the  journey,  and  his 

Away  went  Coldfeet  now  on  the  long  road, 
and  by  my  word  it  was  a  strange  road  to  him. 
He  went  across  high1  hills  and  low  dales,  passing 
each  night  where  he  found  it,  till  the  evening  of 
the  third  day,  when  he  came  to  a  house  where 
a  little  old  man  was  living.  The  old  man  had 
lived  in  that  house  without  leaving  it  for  seven 
hundred  years,  and  had  not  seen  a  living  soul  in 
that  time. 

Coldfeet  gave  good  health  to  the  old  man,  and 
received  a  hundred  thousand  welcomes  in  return. 

"Will  you  give  me  a  night's  lodging?"  asked 

"I  will  indeed,"  said  the  old  man,  "and  is  it 
any  harm  to  ask,  where  are  you  going  ?  " 

"What  harm  in  a  plain  question?  I  am  going 
to  Lonesome  Island  if  I  can  find  it." 

"  You  will  travel  to-morrow,  and  if  you  are 
loose  and  lively  on  the  road  you  '11  come  at  night 
to  a  house,  and  inside  in  it  an  old  man  like 
myself,  only  older.  He  will  give  you  lodgings, 
and  tell  where  to  go  the  day  after." 

Coldfeet  rose  very  early  next  morning,  ate  his 

248  Hero  Tales  of  Ireland. 

breakfast,  asked  aid  of  God,  and  if  he  did  n't  he 
let  it  alone.  He  left  good  health  with  the  old 
man,  and  received  his  blessing.  Away  with  him 
then  over  high  hills  and  low  dales,  and  if  any  one 
wished  to  see  a  great  walker  Coldfeet  was  the 
man  to  look  at.  He  overtook  the  hare  in  the  wind 
that  was  before  him,  and  the  hare  in  the  wind 
behind  could  not  overtake  him ;  he  went  at  that 
gait  without  halt  or  rest  till  he  came  in  the  heel 
of  the  evening  to  a  small  house,  and  went  in. 
Inside  in  the  house  was  a  little  old  man  sitting 
by  the  fire. 

Coldfeet  gave  good  health  to  the  old  man,  and 
got  a  hundred  thousand  welcomes  with  a  night's 

"  Why  did  you  come,  and  where  are  you 
going?  "  asked  the  old  man.  "Fourteen  hundred 
years  am  I  in  this  house  alone,  and  not  a  living 
soul  came  in  to  see  me  till  yourself  came  this 

"  I  am  going  to  Lonesome  Island,  if  I  can  find 

"  I  have  no  knowledge  of  that  place,  but  if  you 
are  a  swift  walker  you  will  come  to-morrow  even- 
ing to  an  old  man  like  myself,  only  older;  he 
will  tell  you  all  that  you  need,  and  show  you  the 
way  to  the  island." 

Next  morning  early  Coldfeet  went  away  after 

Coidfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.  249 

breakfast,  leaving  good  health  behind  him  and 
taking  good  wishes  for  the  road.  He  travelled 
this  day  as  on  the  other  two  days,  only  more 
swiftly,  and  at  nightfall  gave  a  greeting  to  the 
third  old  man. 

"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes,"  said  the 
old  man.  "I  am  living  alone  in  this  house 
twenty-one  hundred  years,  and  not  a  living 
soul  walked  the  way  in  that  time.  You  are  the 
first  man  I  see  in  this  house.  Is  it  to  stay  with 
me  that  you  are  here  ?  " 

"It  is  not,"  said  Coidfeet,  "for  I  must  be 
moving.  I  cannot  spend  two  nights  in  the  one 
house  till  I  go  to  Lonesome  Island,  and  I  have 
no  knowledge  of  where  that  place  is." 

"  Oh,  then,  it 's  the  long  road  between  this  and 
Lonesome  Island,  but  I  '11  tell  where  the  place 
is,  and  how  you  are  to  go,  if  you  go  there.  The 
road  lies  straight  from  my  door  to  the  sea.  From 
the  shore  to  the  island  no  man  has  gone  unless 
the  queen  brought  him,  but  you  may  go  if  the 
strength  and  the  courage  are  in  you.  I  will  give 
you  this  staff;  it  may  help  you.  When  you  reach 
the  sea  throw  the  staff  in  the  water,  and  you  '11 
have  a  boat  that  will  take  you  without  sail  or 
oar  straight  to  the  island.  When  you  touch 
shore  pull  up  the  boat  on  the  strand;  it  will 
turn  into  a  staff  and  be  again  what  it  now  is. 

250  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  queen's  castle  goes  whirling  around  always. 
It  has  only  one  door,  and  that  on  the  roof  of  it. 
If  you  lean  on  the  staff  you  can  rise  with  one 
spring  to  the  roof,  go  in  at  the  door,  and  to  the 
queen's  chamber. 

"  The  queen  sleeps  but  one  day  in  each  year, 
and  she  will  be  sleeping  to-morrow.  The  sword 
of  light  will  be  hanging  at  the  head  of  her  bed, 
the  loaf  and  the  bottle  of  water  on  the  table,  near 
by.  Seize  the  sword  with  the  loaf  and  the 
bottle,  and  away  with  you,  for  the  journey  must 
be  made  in  a  day,  and  you  must  be  on  this  side 
of  those  hills  before  nightfall.  Do  you  think 
you  can  do  that  ?  " 

"I  will  do  it,  or  die  in  the  trial,"  said 

"  If  you  make  that  journey  you  will  do  what  no 
man  has  done  yet,"  said  the  old  man.  "Before 
I  came  to  live  in  this  house  champions  and  hun- 
dreds of  king's  sons  tried  to  go  to  Lonesome 
Island,  but  not  a  man  of  them  had  the  strength 
and  the  swiftness  to  go  as  far  as  the  seashore, 
and  that  is  but  one  part  of  the  journey.  All 
perished,  and  if  their  skulls  are  not  crumbled, 
you'll  see  them  to-morrow.  The  country  is 
open  and  safe  in  the  daytime,  but  when  night 
falls  the  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island  sends  her 
wild  beasts  to  destroy  every  man  they  can  find 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.  251 

until  daybreak.  You  must  be  in  Lonesome 
Island  to-morrow  before  noon,  leave  the  place 
very  soon  after  mid-day,  and  be  on  this  side  of 
those  hills  before  nightfall,  or  perish." 

Next  morning  Coldfeet  rose  early,  ate  his 
breakfast,  and  started  at  daybreak.  Away  he 
went  swiftly  over  hills,  dales,  and  level  places, 
through  a  land  where  the  wind  never  blows  and 
the  cock  never  crows,  and  though  he  went 
quickly  the  day  before,  he  went  five  times  more 
quickly  that  day,  for  the  staff  added  speed  to 
whatever  man  had  it. 

Coldfeet  came  to  the  sea,  threw  the  staff  into 
the  water,  and  a  boat  was  before  him.  Away  he 
went  in  the  boat,  and  before  noon  was  in  the 
chamber  of  the  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.  He 
found  everything  there  as  the  old  man  had  told 
him.  Seizing  the  sword  of  light  quickly  and 
taking  the  bottle  and  loaf,  he  went  toward  the 
door;  but  there  he  halted,  turned  back,  stopped 
a  while  with  the  queen.  It  was  very  near  he  was 
then  to  forgetting  himself;  but  he  sprang  up, 
took  one  of  the  queen's  golden  garters,  and  away 
with  him. 

If  Coldfeet  strove  to  move  swiftly  when  com- 
ing, he  strove  more  in  going  back.  On  he  raced 
over  hills,  dales,  and  flat  places  where  the  wind 
never  blows  and  the  cock  never  crows;  he  never 

252  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

stopped  nor  halted.  When  the  sun  was  near 
setting  he  saw  the  last  line  of  hills,  and  remem- 
bering that  death  was  behind  and  not  far  from 
him,  he  used  his  last  strength  and  was  over  the 
hilltops  at  nightfall. 

The  whole  country  behind  him  was  filled  with 
wild  beasts. 

"Oh,"  said  the  old  man,  "but  you  are  the  hero, 
and  I  was  in  dread  that  you  'd  lose  your  life  on 
the  journey,  and  by  my  hand  you  had  no  time  to 
spare. " 

"I  had  not,  indeed,"  answered  Coldfeet. 
"Here  is  your  staff,  and  many  thanks  for  it." 

The  two  spent  a  pleasant  evening  together. 
Next  morning  Coldfeet  left  his  blessing  with  the 
old  man  and  went  on,  spent  a  night  with  each 
of  the  other  old  men,  and  never  stopped  after 
that  till  he  reached  the  hag's  castle.  She  was 
outside  before  him  with  the  steel  nails  on  her 
toes  and  fingers. 

"Have  you  the  sword,  the  bottle,  and  the 
loaf  ?  "  asked  she. 

"I  have,"  said  Coldfeet;  "here  they  are." 

"Give  them  to  me,"  said  the  hag. 

"If  I  was  bound  to  bring  the  three  things," 
said  Coldfeet,  "  I  was  not  bound  to  give  them  to 
you;  I  will  keep  them." 

"Give  them  here!"  screamed  the  hag,  raising 
her  nails  to  rush  at  him. 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.  253 

With  that  Coldfeet  drew  the  sword  of  light, 
and  sent  her  head  spinning  through  the  sky  in 
the  way  that  't  is  not  known  in  what  part  of  the 
world  it  fell  or  did  it  fall  in  any  place.  He 
burned  her  body  then,  scattered  the  ashes,  and 
went  his  way  farther. 

"I  will  go  to  my  mother  first  of  all,"  thought 
he,  and  he  travelled  till  evening.  When  his  feet 
struck  small  stones  on  the  road,  the  stones  never 
stopped  till  they  knocked  wool  off  the  spinning- 
wheels  of  old  hags  in  the  Eastern  World.  In  the 
evening  he  came  to  a  house  and  asked  lodgings. 

"I  will  give  you  lodgings,  and  welcome,"  said 
the  man  of  the  house;  "but  I  have  no  food  for 

"I  have  enough  for  us  both,"  said  Coldfeet, 
"and  for  twenty  more  if  they  were  in  it;"  and 
he  put  the  loaf  on  the  table. 

The  man  called  his  whole  family.  All  had 
their  fill,  and  left  the  loaf  as  large  as  it  was 
before  supper.  The  woman  of  the  house  made 
a  loaf  in  the  night  like  the  one  they  had  eaten 
from,  and  while  Coldfeet  was  sleeping  took  his 
bread  and  left  her  own  in  the  place  of  it.  Away 
went  Coldfeet  next  morning  with  the  wrong  loaf, 
and  if  he  travelled  differently  from  the  day  before 
it  was  because  he  travelled  faster.  In  the  even- 
ing he  came  to  a  house,  and  asked  would  they 
give  him  a  night's  lodging. 

254  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"We  will,  indeed,"  said  the  woman,  "but  we 
have  no  water  to  cook  supper  for  you ;  the  water 
is  far  away  entirely,  and  no  one  to  go  for  it." 

"I  have  water  here  in  plenty,"  said  Coldfeet, 
putting  his  bottle  on  the  table. 

The  woman  took  the  bottle,  poured  water  from 
it,  filled  one  pot  and  then  another,  filled  every 
vessel  in  the  kitchen,  and  not  a  drop  less  in  the 
bottle.  What  wonder,  when  no  man  or  woman 
ever  born  could  drain  the  bottle  in  a  lifetime. 

Said  the  woman  to  her  husband  that  night, 
"If  we  had  the  bottle,  we  needn't  be  killing 
ourselves  running  for  water." 

"We  need  not,"  said  the  man. 

What  did  the  woman  do  in  the  night,  when 
Coldfeet  was  asleep,  but  take  a  bottle,  fill  it  with 
water  from  one  of  the  pots,  and  put  that  false 
bottle  in  place  of  the  true  one.  Away  went 
Coldfeet  next  morning,  without  knowledge  of 
the  harm  done,  and  that  day  he  travelled  in  the 
way  that  when  he  fell  in  running  he  had  not  time 
to  rise,  but  rolled  on  till  the  speed  that  was  under 
him  brought  him  to  his  feet  again.  At  sunset 
he  was  in  sight  of  a  house,  and  at  dusk  he  was 
in  it. 

Coldfeet  found  welcome  in  the  house,  with  food 
and  lodgings. 

"It  is  great  darkness  we  are  in,"  said  the  man 
to  Coldfeet;  "we  have  neither  oil  nor  rushes." 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.    255 

"I  can  give  you  light,"  said  Coldfeet,  and  he 
unsheathed  the  sword  from  Lonesome  Island ;  it 
was  clear  inside  the  house  as  on  a  hilltop  in 

When  the  people  had  gone  to  bed  Coldfeet  put 
the  sword  into  its  sheath,  and  all  was  dark  again. 

"Oh,"  said  the  woman  to  her  husband  that 
night,  "  if  we  had  the  sword  we  'd  have  light  in 
the  house  always.  You  have  an  old  sword  above 
on  the  loft.  Rise  out  of  the  bed  now  and  put  it 
in  the  place  of  that  bright  one," 

The  man  rose,  took  the  two  swords  out  doors, 
put  the  old  blade  in  Coldfeet's  sheath,  and  hid 
away  Coldfeet's  sword  in  the  loft.  Next  morn- 
ing Coldfeet  went  away,  and  never  stopped  till 
he  came  to  his  mother's  cabin  at  the  foot  of 
Mount  Brandon.  The  poor  old  woman  was  cry- 
ing and  lamenting  every  day.  She  felt  sure  that 
it  was  killed  her  son  was,  for  she  had  never  got 
tale  or  tidings  of  him.  Many  is  the  welcome 
she  had  for  him,  but  if  she  had  welcomes  she 
had  little  to  eat. 

"Oh,  then,  mother,  you  needn't  be  complain- 
ing," said  Coldfeet,  "we  have  as  much  bread 
now  as  will  do  us  a  lifetime;"  with  that  he  put 
the  loaf  on  the  table,  cut  a  slice  for  the  mother, 
and  began  to  eat  himself.  He  was  hungry,  and 
the  next  thing  he  knew  the  loaf  was  gone. 

256  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"There  is  a  little  meal  in  the  house,"  said  the 
mother.  "I  '11  go  for  water  and  make  stirabout." 

"I  have  water  here  in  plenty,"  said  Coldfeet. 
"Bring  a  pot." 

The  bottle  was  empty  in  a  breath,  and  they 
hadn't  what  water  would  make  stirabout  nor  half 
of  it. 

"Oh,  then,"  said  Coldfeet,  "the  old  hag 
enchanted  the  three  things  before  I  killed  her 
and  knocked  the  strength  out  of  every  one  of 
them."  With  that  he  drew  the  sword,  and  it  had 
no  more  light  than  any  rusty  old  blade. 

The  mother  and  son  had  to  live  in  the  old 
way  again ;  but  as  Coldfeet  was  far  stronger  than 
the  first  time,  he  didn't  go  hungry  himself,  and 
the  mother  had  plenty.  There  were  cattle  in  the 
country,  and  all  the  men  in  it  couldn't  keep 
them  from  Coldfeet  or  stop  him.  The  old 
woman  and  the  son  had  beef  and  mutton,  and 
lived  on  for  themselves  at  the  foot  of  Brandon 

In  three  quarters  of  a  year  the  Queen  of  Lone- 
some Island  had  a  son,  the  finest  child  that  sun 
or  moon  could  shine  on,  and  he  grew  in  the  way 
that  what  of  him  didn't  grow  in  the  day  grew  in 
the  night  following,  and  what  didn't  grow  that 
night  grew  the  next  day,  and  when  he  was  two 
years  old  he  was  very  large  entirely. 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.   257 

The  queen  was  grieving  always  for  the  loaf 
and  the  bottle,  and  there  was  no  light  in  her 
chamber  from  the  day  the  sword  was  gone.  All 
at  once  she  thought,  "  The  father  of  the  boy  took 
the  three  things.  I  will  never  sleep  two  nights 
in  the  one  house  till  I  find  him." 

Away  she  went  then  with  the  boy,  —  went  over 
the  sea,  went  through  the  land  where  wind  never 
blows  and  where  cock  never  crows,  came  to  the 
house  of  the  oldest  old  man,  stopped  one  night 
there,  then  stopped  with  the  middle  and  the 
youngest  old  man.  Where  should  she  go  next 
night  but  to  the  woman  who  stole  the  loaf  from 
Coldfeet.  When  the  queen  sat  down  to  supper 
the  woman  brought  the  loaf,  cut  slice  after  slice; 
the  loaf  was  no  smaller. 

"Where  did  you  get  that  loaf?"  asked  the 

"I  baked  it  myself." 

"That  is  my  loaf,"  thought  the  queen. 

The  following  evening  she  came  to  a  house  and 
found  lodgings.  At  supper  the  woman  poured 
water  from  a  bottle,  but  the  bottle  was  full 

"Where  did  you  get  that  bottle?  "     ' 

"It  was  left  to  us,"  said  the  woman;  "my 
grandfather  had  it." 

"That  is  my  bottle,"  thought  the  queen. 

258  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  next  night  she  stopped  at  a  house  where 
a  sword  filled  the  whole  place  with  light. 

"Where  did  you  find  that  beautiful  sword?" 
asked  the  queen. 

"My  grandfather  left  it  to  me,"  said  the  man. 
"We  have  it  hanging  here  always." 

"That  is  my  sword,"  said  the  queen  to  herself. 

Next  day  the  queen  set  out  early,  travelled 
quickly,  and  never  stopped  till  she  came  near 
Brandon  Mountain.  At  a  distance  she  saw  a 
man  coming  down  hill  with  a  fat  bullock  under 
each  arm.  He  was  carrying  the  beasts  as  easily 
as  another  would  carry  two  geese.  The  man  put 
the  bullocks  in  a  pen  near  a  house  at  the  foot  of 
the  mountain,  came  out  toward  the  queen,  and 
never  stopped  till  he  saluted  her.  When  the 
man  stopped,  the  boy  broke  away  from  the  mother 
and  ran  to  the  stranger. 

."How  is  this?"  asked  the  queen;  "the  child 
knows  you."  She  tried  to  take  the  boy,  but  he 
would  not  go  to  her. 

"  Have  you  lived  always  in  this  place?  "  asked 
the  queen. 

"  I  was  born  in  that  house  beyond,  and  reared 
at  the  foot  of  that  mountain  before  you.  I  went 
away  from  home  once  and  killed  four  giants, 
the  first  with  four,  the  second  with  six,  the  third 
with  eight,  and  the  fourth  with  twelve  heads  on 

Coldfeet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.    259 

him.  When  I  had  the  giants  killed,  their  mother 
came  out  against  me,  and  she  raging  with  ven- 
geance. She  wanted  to  kill  me  at  first,  but  she 
did  not.  She  put  me  under  bonds  of  enchant- 
ment to  go  to  the  castle  of  the  Queen  of  Lone- 
some Island,  and  bring  the  sword  of  light  that 
can  never  fail  to  cut  or  give  light,  the  loaf  of 
bread  that  can  never  be  eaten,  and  the  bottle  of 
water  that  can  never  be  drained." 

"  Did  you  go?  "  asked  the  queen. 

"I  did." 

"  How  could  you  go  to  Lonesome  Island?  " 

"  I  journeyed  and  travelled,  inquiring  for  the 
island,  stopping  one  night  at  one  place,  and  the 
next  night  at  another,  till  I  came  to  the  house  of 
a  little  man  seven  hundred  years  old.  He  sent 
me  to  a  second  man  twice  as  old  as  himself,  and 
the  second  to  a  third  three  times  as  old  as  the 
first  man. 

"The  third  old  man  showed  me  the  road  to 
Lonesome  Island,  and  gave  me  a  staff  to  assist 
me.  When  I  reached  the  sea  I  made  a  boat  of 
the  staff,  and  it  took  me  to  the  island.  On  the 
island  the  boat  was  a  staff  again. 

"I  sprang  to  the  top  of  the  queen's  turning 
castle,  went  down  and  entered  the  chamber  where 
shs  was  sleeping,  took  the  sword  of  light,  with 
the  loaf  and  the  bottle,  and  was  coming  away 

260  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

again.  I  looked  at  the  queen.  The  heart 
softened  within  me  at  sight  of  her  beauty.  I 
turned  back  and  came  near  forgetting  my  life 
with  her.  I  brought  her  gold  garter  with  me, 
took  the  three  things,  sprang  down  from  the 
castle,  ran  to  the  water,  made  a  boat  of  the 
staff  again,  came  quickly  to  mainland,  and  from 
that  hour  till  darkness  I  ran  with  what  strength 
I  could  draw  from  each  bit  of  my  body.  Hardly 
had  I  crossed  the  hilltop  and  was  before  the  door 
of  the  oldest  old  man  when  the  country  behind 
me  was  covered  with  wild  beasts.  I  escaped 
death  by  one  moment.  I  brought  the  three 
things  to  the  hag  who  had  sent  me,  but  I  did 
not  give  them.  I  struck  the  head  from  her,  but 
before  dying  she  destroyed  them,  for  when  I 
came  home  they  were  useless." 

"  Have  you  the  golden  garter?  " 

"Here  it  is,"  said  the  young  man. 

"What  is  your  name?  "  asked  the  queen. 

"Coldfeet,"  said  the  stranger. 

"You  are  the  man,"  said  the  queen.  "Long 
ago  it  was  prophesied  that  a  hero  named  Cold- 
feet  would  come  to  Lonesome  Island  without  my 
request  or  assistance,  and  that  our  son  would 
cover  the  whole  world  with  his  power.  Come 
with  me  now  to  Lonesome  Island." 

The  queen  gave  Coldfeet' s  old  mother  good 
clothing,  and  said,  "You  will  live  in  my  castle." 

Co  Id  feet  and  Queen  of  Lonesome  Island.    26 1 

They  all  left  Brandon  Mountain  and  journeyed 
on  toward  Lonesome  Island  till  they  reached 
the  house  where  the  sword  of  light  was.  It  was 
night  when  they  came  and  dark  outside,  but 
bright  as  day  in  the  house  from  the  sword,  which 
was  hanging  on  the  wall. 

"Where  did  you  find  this  blade?  "  asked  Cold- 
feet,  catching  the  hilt  of  the  sword. 

"My  grandfather  had  it,"  said  the  woman. 

"He  had  not,"  said  Coldfeet,  "and  I  ought  to 
take  the  head  off  your  husband  for  stealing  it 
when  I  was  here  last." 

Coldfeet  put  the  sword  in  his  scabbard  and 
kept  it.  Next  day  they  reached  the  house  where 
the  bottle  was,  and  Coldfeet  took  that.  The 
following  night  he  found  the  loaf  and  recovered 
it.  All  the  old  men  were  glad  to  see  Coldfeet, 
especially  the  oldest,  who  loved  him. 

The  queen  with  her  son  and  Coldfeet  with  his 
mother  arrived  safely  in  Lonesome  Island.  They 
lived  on  in  happiness;  there  is  no  account  of 
their  death,  and  they  may  be  in  it  yet  for  aught 
we  know. 


"^HERE  was  a  king  in  his  own  time  in  Erin, 
and  he  went  hunting  one  day.  The  king 
met  a  man  whose  head  was  out  through  his  cap, 
whose  elbows  and  knees  were  out  through  his 
clothing,  .and  whose  toes  were  out  through  his 

The  man  went  up  to  the  king,  gave  him  a 
blow  on  the  face,  and  drove  three  teeth  from  his 
mouth.  The  same  blow  put  the  king's  head  in 
the  dirt.  When  he  rose  from  the  earth  the  king 
went  back  to  his  castle,  and  lay  down  sick  and 

The  king  had  three  sons,  and  their  names  were 
Ur,  Arthur,  and  Lawn  Dyarrig.  The  three  were 
at  school  that  day  and  came  home  in  the  evening. 
The  father  sighed  when  the  sons  were  coming  in. 

"What  is  wrong  with  our  father?  "  asked  the 

"Your  father  is  sick  on  his  bed,"  said  the 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.       263 

The  three  sons  went  to  their  father  and  asked 
what  was  on  him. 

"  A  strong  man  that  I  met  to-day  gave  me  a 
blow  in  the  face,  put  my  head  in  the  dirt,  and 
knocked  three  teeth  from  my  mouth.  What 
would  you  do  to  him  if  you  met  him?"  asked 
the  father  of  the  eldest  son. 

"If  I  met  that  man,"  replied  Ur,  "I  would 
make  four  parts  of  him  between  four  horses." 

"You  are  my  son,"  said  the  king.  "What 
would  you  do  if  you  met  him?"  asked  he  then, 
as  he  turned  to  the  second  son. 

"If  I  had  a  grip  on  that  man  I  would  burn  him 
between  four  fires." 

"  You,  too,  are  my  son.  What  would  you  do?  " 
asked  the  king  of  Lawn  Dyarrig. 

"  If  I  met  that  man  I  would  do  my  best  against 
him,  and  he  might  not  stand  long  before  me." 

"  You  are  not  my  son.  I  would  not  lose  lands 
or  property  on  you,"  said  the  father.  "You 
must  go  from  me,  and  leave  this  to-morrow." 

On  the  following  morning  the  three  brothers 
rose  with  the  dawn ;  the  order  was  given  Lawn 
Dyarrig  to  leave  the  castle,  and  make  his  own 
way  for  himself.  The  other  two  brothers  were 
going  to  travel  the  world  to  know  could  they  find 
the  man  who  had  injured  their  father.  Lawn 
Dyarrig  lingered  outside  till  he  saw  the  two,  and 
they  going  off  by  themselves. 

264  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"It  is  a  strange  thing,"  said  he,  "for  two 
men  of  high  degree  to  go  travelling  without  a 
servant. " 

"We  need  no  one,"  said  Ur. 

"Company  would  n't  harm  us,"  said  Arthur. 

The  two  let  Lawn  Dyarrig  go  with  them  then 
as  a  serving-boy,  and  set  out  to  find  the  man  who 
had  struck  down  their  father.  They  spent  all 
that  day  walking,  and  came  late  to  a  house  where 
one  woman  was  living.  She  shook  hands  with  Ur 
and  Arthur,  and  greeted  them.  Lawn  Dyarrig 
she  kissed  and  welcomed,  called  him  son  of  the 
King  of  Erin. 

"  'T  is  a  strange  thing  to  shake  hands  with  the 
elder  and  kiss  the  younger,"  said  Ur. 

"This  is  a  story  to  tell,"  said  the  woman;  "the 
same  as  if  your  death  were  in  it. " 

They  made  three  parts  of  that  night.  The 
first  part  they  spent  in  conversation,'  the  second 
in  telling  tales,  the  third  in  eating  and  drinking, 
with  sound  sleep  and  sweet  slumber.  As  early 
as  the  day  dawned  next  morning,  the  old  woman 
was  up  and  had  food  for  the  young  men.  When 
the  three  had  eaten  she  spoke  to  Ur,  and  this  is 
what  she  asked  of  him,  "  What  was  it  that  drove 
you  from  home,  and  what  brought  you  to  this 

"A  champion  met  my  father,  took  three  teeth 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      265 

from  him,  and  put  his   head   in   the  dirt.      I  am 
looking  for  that  man  to  find  him  alive  or  dead. " 

"That  was  the  Green  Knight  from  Terrible 
Valley.  He  is  the  man  who  took  the  three  teeth 
from  your  father.  I  am  three  hundred  years 
living  in  this  place,  and  there  is  not  a  year  of 
the  three  hundred  in  which  three  hundred  heroes 
fresh,  young,  and  noble  have  not  passed  on  the 
way  to  Terrible  Valley,  and  never  have  I  seen 
one  coming  back,  and  each  of  them  had  the  look 
of  a  man  better  than  you.  And  now,  where  are 
.you  going,  Arthur?  " 

"  I  am  on  the  same  journey  with  my  brother." 
"Where  are  you  going,  Lawn  Dyarrig?  " 
"I   am   going  with   these  as  a  servant,"  said 
Lawn  Dyarrig. 

"God's  help  to  you,  it's  bad  clothing  that's 
on  your  body,"  said  the  woman;  "and  now  I 
will  speak  to  Ur.  A  day  and  a  year  since  a 
champion  passed  this  way;  he  wore  a  suit  as  good 
as  was  ever  above  ground.  I  had  a  daughter 
sewing  there  in  the  open  window.  He  came  out- 
side, put  a  finger  under  her  girdle,  and  took  her 
with  him.  Her  father  followed  straightway  to 
save  her,  but  I  have  never  seen  daughter  or  father 
from  that  day  to  this.  That  man  was  the  Green 
Knight  of  Terrible  Valley.  He  is  better  than 
all  the  men  that  could  stand  on  a  field  a  mile  in 

266  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

length  and  a  mile  in  breadth.  If  you  take  my 
advice  you  '11  turn  back  and  go  home  to  your 

'T  is  how  she  vexed  Ur  with  this  talk,  and  he 
made  a  vow  to  himself  to  go  on.  When  Ur  did 
not  agree  to  turn  home,  the  woman  said  to  Lawn 
Dyarrig,  "  Go  back  to  my  chamber,  you  '11  find  in 
it  the  apparel  of  a  hero. " 

He  went  back,  and  there  was  not  a  bit  of  the 
apparel  that  he  did  not  go  into  with  a  spring. 

"You  may  be  able  to  do  something  now,"  said 
the  woman,  when  Lawn  Dyarrig  came  to  the 
front.  "  Go  back  to  my  chamber  and  search 
through  all  the  old  swords.  You  will  find  one 
at  the  bottom;  take  that." 

He  found  the  old  sword,  and  at  the  first  shake 
that  he  gave  he  knocked  seven  barrels  of  rust  out 
of  it ;  after  the  second  shake,  it  was  as  bright  as 
when  made. 

"  You  may  be  able  to  do  well  with  that,"  said 
the  woman.  "Go  out  now  to  that  stable  abroad, 
and  take  the  slim  white  steed  that  is  in  it. 
That  one  will  never  stop  nor  halt  in  any  place 
till  he  brings  you  to  the  Eastern  World.  If  you 
like,  take  these  two  men  behind  you;  if  riot,  let 
them  walk.  But  I  think  it  is  useless  for  you  to 
have  them  at  all  with  you." 

Lawn  Dyarrig  went  out  to  the  stable,  took  the 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      267 

slim  white  steed,  mounted,  rode  to  the  front, 
and  catching  the  two  brothers,  planted  them  on 
the  horse  behind  him. 

"Now,  Lawn  Dyarrig,"  said  the  woman,  "this 
horse  will  never  stop  till  he  stands  on  the  little 
white  meadow  in  the  Eastern  World.  When  he 
stops,  you  '11  come  down  and  cut  the  turf  under 
his  beautiful  right  front  foot." 

The  horse  started  from  the  door,  and  at  every 
leap  he  crossed  seven  hills  and  valleys,  seven 
castles  with  villages,  acres,  roods,  and  odd 
perches.  He  could  overtake  the  whirlwind  before 
him  seven  hundred  times  before  the  whirlwind 
behind  could  overtake  him  once.  Early  in  the 
afternoon  of  the  next  day  he  was  in  the  Eastern 
World.  When  he  dismounted,  Lawn  Dyarrig  cut 
the  sod  from  under  the  foot  of  the  slim  white 
steed  in  the  name  of  the  Father,  Son,  and  Holy 
Ghost,  and  Terrible  Valley  was  down  under  him 
there.  What  he  did  next  was  to  tighten  the 
reins  on  the  neck  of  the  steed  and  let  him  go 

"  Now,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig  to  the  brothers, 
"which  would  ye  rather  be  doing,  making  a 
basket  or  twisting  gads  (withes)  ?  " 

"We  would  rather  be  making  a  basket;  our 
help  is  among  ourselves,"  answered  they. 

Ur  and  Arthur  went  at  the  basket  and  Lawn 

268  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Dyarrig  at  twisting  the  gads.  When  Lawn 
Dyarrig  came  to  the  opening  with  the  gads,  all 
twisted  and  made  into  one,  they  hadn't  the  ribs 
of  the  basket  in  the  ground  yet. 

"Oh,  then,  haven't  ye  anything  done  but 

"Stop  your  mouth,"  said  Ur,  "or  we  '11  make 
a  mortar  of  your  head  on  the  next  stone." 

"To  be  kind  to  one  another  is  the  best  for  us," 
said  Lawn  Dyarrig.  "I  '11  make  the  basket." 

While  they  'd  be  putting  one  rod  in  the  basket 
he  had  the  basket  finished. 

"Oh,  brother,"  said  they,  "you  are  a  quick 

They  had  not  called  him  brother  since  they  left 
home  till  that  moment. 

"Who  will  go  in  the  basket  now?"  asked 
Lawn  Dyarrig,  when  it  was  finished,  and  the  gad 
tied  to  it. 

"Who  but  me?"  said  Ur.  "I  am  sure, 
brothers,  if  I  see  anything  to  frighten  me  ye '11 
draw  me  up." 

"We  will,"  said  the  other  two. 

He  went  in,  but  had  not  gone  far  when  he 
cried  to  pull  him  up  again. 

"  By  my  father  and  the  tooth  of  my  father,  and 
by  all  that  is  in  Erin  dead  or  alive,  I  would  not 
give  one  other  sight  on  Terrible  Valley!"  cried 
he,  when  he  stepped  out  of  the  basket. 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      269 

"Who  will  go  now?"  asked  Lawn  Dyarrig. 
"  Who  will  go  but  me  ?  "  answered  Arthur. 

Whatever  length  Ur  went,  Arthur  did  n't  go 
the  half  of  it. 

"  By  my  father  and  the  tooth  of  my  father,  I 
would  n't  give  another  look  at  Terrible  Valley 
for  all  that  's  in  Erin  dead  or  alive!" 

"I  will  go  now,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig,  "and  as 
I  put  no  foul  play  on  you,  I  hope  ye  '11  not  put 
foul  play  on  me." 

"We  will  not,  indeed,"  said  they. 

Whatever  length  the  other  two  went,  Lawn 
Dyarrig  did  n't  go  the  half  of  it  till  he  stepped 
out  of  the  basket  and  went  down  on  his  own  feet. 
It  was  not  far  he  had  travelled  in  Terrible  Val- 
ley when  he  met  seven  hundred  heroes  guarding 
the  country. 

"In  what  place  here  has  the  Green  Knight  his 
castle?  "  asked  he  of  the  seven  hundred. 

"  What  sort  of  a  sprisawn  goat  or  sheep  from 
Erin  are  you  ?  "  asked  they. 

"  If  we  had  a  hold  of  you,  that  's  a  question 
you  would  not  put  the  second  time;  but  if  we 
haven't  you,  we'll  not  be  so  long." 

They  faced  Lawn  Dyarrig  then  and  attacked 
him;  but  he  went  through  them  like  a  hawk  or 
a  raven  through  small  birds.  He  made  a  heap 
of  their  feet,  a  heap  of  their  heads,  and  a  castle 
of  their  arms. 

2  7O  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

After  that  he  went  his  way  walking,  and  had 
not  gone  far  when  he  came  to  a  spring.  "I  '11 
have  a  drink  before  I  go  farther,"  thought  he. 
With  that  he  stooped  down  and  took  a  drink  of 
the  water.  When  he  had  drunk  he  lay  on  the 
ground  and  fell  asleep. 

Now  there  wasn't  a  morning  that  the  lady  in 
the  Green  Knight's  castle  did  n't  wash  in  the 
water  of  that  spring,  and  she  sent  a  maid  for 
the  water  each  time.  Whatever  part  of  the  day 
it  was  when  Lawn  Dyarrig  fell  asleep,  he  was 
sleeping  in  the  morning  when  the  girl  came. 
She  thought  it  was  dead  the  man  was,  and  she  was 
so  in  dread  of  him  that  she  would  not  come  near 
the  spring  for  a  long  time.  At  last  she  saw  he 
was  asleep,  and  then  she  took  the  water.  Her 
mistress  was  complaining  of  her  for  being  so 

"Do  not  blame  me,"  said  the  maid.  "lam 
sure  that  if  it  was  yourself  that  was  in  my  place 
you'd  not  come  back  so  soon." 

"How  so?"  asked  the  lady. 

"The  finest  hero  that  a  woman  ever  laid  eyes 
on  is  sleeping  at  the  spring." 

"That's  a  thing  that  cannot  be  till  Lawn 
Dyarrig  comes  to  the  age  of  a  hero.  When 
that  time  comes  he  '11  be  sleeping  at  the 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      271 

"  He  is  in  it  now,"  said  the  girl. 
•  The  lady  did  not  stay  to  get  any  drop  of  the 
water  on  herself,  but  ran  quickly  from  the  castle. 
When  she  came  to  the  spring  she  roused  Lawn 
Dyarrig.  If  she  found  him  lying,  she  left  him 
standing.  She  smothered  him  with  kisses, 
drowned  him  with  tears,  dried  him  with  gar- 
ments of  fine  silk,  and  with  her  own  hair.  Her 
self  and  himself  locked  arms  and  walked  into  the 
castle  of  the  Green  Knight.  After  that  they 
were  inviting  each  other  with  the  best  food  and 
entertainment  till  the  middle  of  the  following 
day.  Then  the  lady  said,  — 

"  When  the  Green  Knight  bore  me  away  from 
my  father  and  mother,  he  brought  me  straight 
to  this  castle,  but  I  put  him  under  bonds  not  to 
marry  me  for  seven  years  and  a  day,  and  he 
cannot;  still  I  must  serve  him.  When  he  goes 
fowling  he  spends  three  days  away,  and  the  next 
three  days  at  home.  This  is  the  day  for  him 
to  come  back,  and  for  me  to  prepare  his  dinner. 
There  is  no  stir  that  you  or  I  have  made  here 
to-day  but  that  brass  head  beyond  there  will  tell 
of  it." 

"It  is  equal  to  you  what  it  tells,"  said  Lawn 
Dyarrig,  "only  make  ready  a  clean,  long  chamber 

She  did  so,  and  he  went  back  into  it.      Herself 

272  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

rose  up  then  to  prepare  dinner  for  the  Green 
Knight.  When  he  came  she  welcomed  him  as 
every  day.  She  left  down  his  food  before  him, 
and  he  sat  to  take  his  dinner.  He  was  sitting 
with  knife  and  fork  in  hand  when  the  brass  head 
spoke.  "  I  thought  when  I  saw  you  taking  food 
and  drink  with  your  wife  that  you  had'  the  blood 
of  a  man  in  you.  If  you  could  see  that  sprisawn 
of  a  goat  or  sheep  out  of  Erin  taking  meat  and 
drink  with  her  all  day,  what  would  you  do?  " 

"  Oh,  my  suffering  and  sorrow ! "  cried  the 
knight.  "I'll  never  take  another  bite  or  sup 
till  I  eat  some  of  his  liver  and  heart.  Let  three 
hundred  heroes  fresh  and  young  go  back  and 
bring  his  heart  to  me,  with  the  liver  and  lights, 
till  I  eat  them." 

The  three  hundred  heroes  went,  and  hardly 
were  they  behind  in  the  chamber  when  Lawn 
Dyarrig  had  them  all  dead  in  one  heap. 

"  He  must  have  some  exercise  to  delay  my 
men,  they  are  so  long  away,"  said  the  knight. 
"  Let  three  hundred  more  heroes  go  for  his  heart, 
with  the  liver  and  lights,  and  bring  them  here 
to  me." 

The  second  three  hundred  went,  and  as  they 
were  entering  the  chamber,  Lawn  Dyarrig  was 
making  a  heap  of  them,  till  the  last  one  was 
inside,  where  there  were  two  heaps. 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      273 

"  He  has  some  way  of  coaxing  my  men  to  delay," 
said  the  knight.  "  Do  you  go  now,  three  hun- 
dred of  my  savage  hirelings,  and  bring  him." 

The  three  hundred  savage  hirelings  went,  and 
Lawn  Dyarrig  let  every  man  of  them  enter 
before  he  raised  a  hand,  then  he  caught  the 
bulkiest  of  them  all  by  the  two  ankles  and  began 
to  wallop  the  others  with  him,  and  he  walloped 
them  till  he  drove  the  life  out  of  the  two  hun- 
dred and  ninety-nine.  The  bulkiest  one  was 
worn  to  the  shin  bones  that  Lawn  Dyarrig  held 
in  his  two  hands.  The  Green  Knight,  who 
thought  Lawn  Dyarrig  was  .coaxing  the  men, 
called  out  then,  "Come  down,  my  men,  and  take 
dinner! " 

"I  '11  be  with  you,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig,  "and 
have  the  best  food  in  the  house,  and  I  '11  have 
the  best  bed  in  the  house.  God  not  be  good  to 
you  for  it,  either." 

He  went  down  to  the  Green  Knight  and  took 
the  food  from  before  him  and  put  it  before  him- 
self. Then  he  took  the  lady,  set  her  on  his  own 
knee,  and  he  and  she  went  on  eating.  After 
dinner  he  put  his  finger  under  her  girdle,  took 
her  to  the  best  chamber  in  the  castle,  and  re- 
mained there  till  morning.  Before  dawn  the 
lady  said  to  Lawn  Dyarrig,  — 

"  If  the  Green  Knight  strikes  the  pole  of  com- 

274  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

bat  first,  he'll  win  the  day;  if  you  strike  first, 
you  '11  win,  if  you  do  what  I  tell  you.  The 
Green  Knight  has  so  much  enchantment  that  if 
he  sees  it  is  going  against  him  the  battle  is,  he  ''11 
rise  like  a  fog  in  the  air,  come  down  in  the  same 
form,  strike  you,  and  make  a  green  stone  of 
you.  When  yourself  and  himself  are  going  out 
to  fight  in  the  morning,  cut  a  sod  a  perch  long 
in  the  name  of  the  Father,  Son,  and  Holy  Ghost ; 
you  '11  leave  the  sod  on  the  next  little  hillock 
you  meet.  When  the  Green  Knight  is  coming 
down  and  is  ready  to  strike,  give  him  a  blow 
with  the  sod;  you'll  make  a  green  stone  of 

As  early  as  the  dawn  Lawn  Dyarrig  rose  and 
struck  the  pole  of  combat.  The  blow  that  he 
gave  did  not  leave  calf,  foal,  lamb,  kid,  or  child 
waiting  for  birth,  without  turning  them  five 
times  to  the  left  and  five  times  to  the  right, 

"What  do  you  want?  "  asked  the  knight. 

"All  that 's  in  your  kingdom  to  be  against  me 
the  first  quarter  of  the  day,  and  yourself  the 
second  quarter." 

"  You  have  not  left  in  the  kingdom  now  but 
myself,  and  it  is  early  enough  for  you  that  I  '11 
be  at  you." 

The  knight  faced  him,  and  they  went  at  each 
.other  and  fought  till  late  in  the  day.  The  battle 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      275 

was  strong  against  Lawn  Dyarrig  when  the  lady 
stood  in  the  door  of  the  castle. 

"  Increase  on  your  blows  and  increase  on  your 
courage,"  cried  she.  "There  is  no  woman  here 
but  myself  to  wail  over  you,  or  to  stretch  you 
before  burial." 

When  the  knight  heard  the  voice,  he  rose  -in 
the  air  like  a  lump  of  fog.  As  he  was  coming 
down,  Lawn  Dyarrig  struck  him  with  the  sod  on 
the  right  side  of  his  breast,  and  made  a  green 
stone  of  him. 

The  lady  rushed  out  then,  and  whatever  wel- 
come she  had  for  Lawn  Dyarrig  the  first  time, 
'she  had  twice  as  much  now.  Herself  and  him- 
self went  into  the  castle  and  spent  that  night 
very  comfortably.  In  the  morning  they  rose 
early,  and  collected  all  the  gold,  utensils,  and 
treasures.  Lawn  Dyarrig  found  the  three  teeth 
of  his  father  in  a  pocket  of  the  Green  Knight, 
and  took  them.  He  and  the  lady  brought  all 
the  riches  to  where  the  basket  was.  "  If  I  send 
up  this  beautiful  lady,"  thought  Lawn  Dyarrig, 
"she  may  be  taken  from  me  by  my  brothers;  if 
I  remain  below  with  her,  she  may  be  taken  from 
me  by  people  here."  He  put  her  in  the  basket, 
and  she  gave  him  a  ring  so  that  they  might  know 
each  other  if  they  met.  He  shook  the  gad,  and 
she  rose  in  the  basket. 

276  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

When  Ur  saw  the  basket  he  thought,  ''What  's 
above  let  it  be  above,  and  what  's  below  let  it 
stay  where  it  is." 

"I'll  have  you  as  wife  forever  for  myself," 
said  he  to  the  lady. 

"I  put  you  under  bonds,''  said  she,  "not  to  lay 
a  hand  on  me  for  a  day  and  three  years." 

"  That  itself  would  not  be  long  even  if  twice 
the  time,"  said  Ur. 

The  two  brothers  started  home  with  the  lady; 
on  the  way  Ur  found  the  head  of  an  old  horse 
with  teeth  in  it  and  took  them,  saying,  "  These 
will  be  my  father's  three  teeth." 

They  travelled  on,  and  reached  home  at  last. 
Ur  would  not  have  left  a  tooth  in  his  father's 
mouth,  trying  to  put  in  the  three  that  he  had 
brought;  but  the  father  stopped  him. 

Lawn  Dyarrig,  left  in  Terrible  Valley,  began 
to  walk  around  for  himself.  He  had  been  walk- 
ing but  one  day  when  whom  should  he  meet  but 
the  lad  Shortclothes,  and  he  saluted  him.  "By 
what  way  can  I  leave  Terrible  Valley?"  asked 
Lawn  Dyarrig. 

"If  I  had  a  grip  on  you  that's  what  you 
wouldn't  ask  of  me  a  second  time,"  said  Short- 

"  If  you  have  not  touched  me  you  will  before 
you  are  much  older." 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      277 

"If  I  do,  you  will  not  treat  me  as  you  did  all 
my  people  and  my  master. " 

"I  '11  do  worse  to  you  than  I  did  to  them,"  said 
Lawn  Dyarrig. 

They  caught  each  other  then,  one  grip  under 
the  arm  and  one  grip  on  the  shoulder.  'T  is  not 
long  they  were  wrestling  when  Lawn  Dyarrig 
had  Shortclothes  on  the  earth,  and  he  gave  him 
the  five  thin  tyings  dear  and  tight. 

"You  are  the  best  hero  I  have  ever  met,"  said 
Shortclothes ;  "  give  me  quarter  for  my  soul,  — 
spare  me.  When  I  did  not  tell  you  of  my  own 
will,  I  must  tell  in  spite  of  myself." 

"  It  is  as  easy  for  me  to  loosen  you  as  to  tie 
you,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig,  and  he  freed  him. 
The  moment  he  was  free,  Shortclothes  said,  - 

"  I  put  you  under  bonds,  and  the  misfortune  of 
the  year  to  be  walking  and  going  always  till  you 
go  to  the  northeast  point  of  the  world,  and  get 
the  heart  and  liver  of  the  serpent  which  is  seven 
years  asleep  and  seven  years  awake. " 

Lawn  Dyarrig  went  away  then,  and  never 
stopped  till  he  was  in  the  northeast  of  the  world, 
where  he  found  the  serpent  asleep. 

"  I  will  not  go  unawares  on  you  while  you  are 
asleep,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig,  and  he  turned  to  go. 
When  he  was  going,  the  serpent  drew  him  down 
her  throat  with  one  breath. 

278  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Inside  he  found  three  men  playing  cards  in  her 
belly.  Each  laughed  when  he  looked  at  Lawn 

"What  reason  have  you  for  laughing?"  asked 

"We  are  laughing  with  glee  to  have  another 
partner  to  fill  out  our  number. " 

Lawn  Dyarrig  did  not  sit  down  to  play.  He 
drew  his  sword,  and  was  searching  and  looking 
till  he  found  the  heart  and  liver  of  the  serpent. 
He  took  a  part  of  each,  and  cut  out  a  way  for  him- 
self between  two  ribs.  The  three  card-players 
followed  when  they  saw  the  chance  of  escape. 

Lawn  Dyarrig,  free  of  the  serpent,  never 
stopped  till  he  came  to  Shortclothes,  and  he  was 
a  day  and  three  years  on  the  journey,  and  doing 
the  work. 

"Since  you  are  not  dead  now,"  said  Short- 
clothes,  "there  is  no  death  allotted  to  you.  I  '11 
find  a  way  for  you  to  leave  Terrible  Valley.  Go 
and  take  that  old  bridle  hanging  there  beyond 
and  shake  it;  whatever  beast  comes  and  puts  its 
head  into  the  bridle  will  carry  you." 

Lawn  Dyarrig  shook  the  bridle,  and  a  dirty, 
shaggy  little  foal  came  and  put  head  in  the 
bridle.  Lawn  Dyarrig  mounted,  dropped  the 
reins  on  the  foal's  neck,  and  let  him  take  his  own 
choice  of  roads.  The  foal  brought  Lawn  Dyarrig 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      279 

out  by  another  way  to  the  upper  world,  and  took 
him  to  Erin.  Lawn  Dyarrig  stopped  some  dis- 
tance from  his  father's  castle,  and  knocked  at  the 
house  of  an  old  weaver. 

"Who  are  you?  "  asked  the  old  man. 

"  I  am  a  weaver,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig. 

"What  can  you  do?  " 

"  I  can  spin  for  twelve  and  twist  for  twelve." 

"This  is  a  very  good  man,"  said  the  old  weaver 
to  his  sons.  "Let  us  try  him." 

The  work  they  would  be  doing  for  a  year  he 
had  done  in  one  hour,  When  dinner  was  over 
the  old  man  began  to  wash  and  shave,  and  his 
two  sons  began  to  do  the  same. 

"Why  is  this?  "  asked  Lawn  Dyarrig. 

"Haven't  you  heard  that  Ur,  son  of  the  king, 
is  to  marry  to-night  the  woman  that  he  took 
from  the  Green  Knight  of  Terrible  Valley?  " 

"I  have  not,"  said  Lawn  Dyarrig;  "but  as  all 
are  going  to  the  wedding,  I  suppose  I  may  go 
without  offence." 

"Oh,  you  may,"  said  the  weaver.  "There  will 
be  a  hundred  thousand  welcomes  before  you." 

"Are  there  any  linen  sheets  within?  " 

"There  are,"  said  the  weaver. 

"  It  is  well  to  have  bags  ready  for  yourself  and 
two  sons. " 

The   weaver   made    bags   for    the    three   very 

280  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

quickly.  They  went  to  the  wedding.  Lawn 
Dyarrig  put  what  dinner  was  on  the  first  table 
into  the  weaver's  bag,  and  sent  the  old  man 
home  with  it.  The  food  of  the  second  table  he 
put  in  the  eldest  son's  bag,  filled  the  second 
son's  bag  from  the  third  table,  and  sent  the  two 

The  complaint  went  to  Ur  that  an  impudent 
stranger  was  taking  all  the  food. 

"It  is  not  right  to  turn  any  man  away,"  said 
the  bridegroom ;  "  but  if  that  stranger  does  not 
mind  he  will  be  thrown  out  of  the  castle." 

"Let  me  look  at  the  face  of  the  disturber," 
said  the  bride. 

"  Go  and  bring  the  fellow  who  is  troubling  the 
guests,"  said  Ur,  to  the  servants. 

Lawn  Dyarrig  was  brought  right  away,  and 
stood  before  the  bride,  who  filled  a  glass  with 
wine  and  gave  it  to  him.  Lawn  Dyarrig  drank 
half  the  wine,  and  dropped  in  the  ring  which  the 
lady  had  given  him  in  Terrible  Valley. 

When  the  bride  took  the  glass  again  the  ring 
went  of  itself  with  one  leap  to  her  finger.  She 
knew  then  who  was  standing  before  her. 

"This  is  the  man  who  conquered  the  Green 
Knight,  and  saved  me  from  Terrible  Valley," 
said  she  to  the  King  of  Erin;  "this  is  Lawn 
Dyarrig,  your  son." 

Lawn  Dyarrig  and  the  Knight.      281 

Lawn  Dyarrig  took  out  the  three  teeth,  and 
put  them  in  his  father's  mouth.  They  fitted 
there  perfectly,  and  grew  into  their  old  place. 
The  king  was  satisfied;  and  as  the  lady  would 
marry  no  man  but  Lawn  Dyarrig  he  was  the 

"I  must  give  you  a  present,"  said  the  bride  to 
the  queen.  "  Here  is  a  beautiful  scarf  which  you 
are  to  wear  as  a  girdle  this  evening." 

The  queen  put  the  scarf  around  her  waist. 

uTell  me  now,"  said  the  bride  to  the  queen, 
"who  was  Ur's  father?  " 

"What  father  could  he  have  but  his  own  father, 
the  King  of  Erin?" 

"Tighten,  scarf,"  said  the  bride. 

That  moment  the  queen  thought  that  her  head 
was  in  the  sky,  and  the  lower  half  of  her  body 
down  deep  in  the  earth. 

"  Oh,  my  grief  and  my  woe !  "  cried  the  queen. 

"Answer  my  question  in  truth,  and  the  scarf 
will  stop  squeezing  you.  Who  was  Ur's  father?" 

"The  gardener,"  said  the  queen. 

"Whose  son  is  Arthur?  " 

"The  king's  son." 

"Tighten,  scarf,"  said  the  bride. 

If  the  queen  suffered  before,  she  suffered  twice 
as  much  this  time,  and  screamed  for  help. 

"Answer  me  truly,  and  you  '11  be  without  pain; 

282  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

if  not,  death  will  be  on  you  this  minute.  Whose 
son  is  Arthur?  " 

"The  swineherd's." 

"  Who  is  the  king's  son  ?  " 

"The  king  has  no  son  but  Lawn  Dyarrig." 

"Tighten,  scarf." 

The  scarf  did  not  tighten,  and  if  the  bride  had 
been  commanding  it  for  a  day  and  a  year  it 
would  not  have  tightened,  for  the  queen  told  the 
truth  that  time.  When  the  wedding  was  over, 
the  king  gave  Lawn  Dyarrig  half  his  kingdom, 
and  made  Ur  and  Arthur  his  servants. 


ONG  ago  Ri  Balor  lived  on  Tory  Island,  and 
fr'  he  lived  there  because  it  was  prophesied 
that  he  was  never  to  die  unless  he  'd  be  killed  by 
the  son  of  his  only  daughter. 

Balor,  to  put  the  daughter  in  the  way  that 
she  'd  never  have  a  son,  went  to  live  on  Tory, 
and  built  a  castle  on  Tor  Mor,  a  cliff  jutting 
into  the  ocean.  He  put  twelve  women  to  guard 
the  daughter,  and  all  around  the  castle  he  had 
cords  fixed,  and  every  one  of  them  tied  to  bells, 
so  that  no  man  could  come  in  secret.  If  any 
man  touched  a  cord  all  the  bells  would  ring  and 
give  notice,  and  Balor  would  seize  him. 

Balor  lived  that  way,  well  satisfied.  He  was 
full  sure  that  his  life  was  out  of  danger. 

Opposite  on  the  mainland,  at  Druim  na  Teine 
(hill  of  fire),  lived  a  smith,  Gavidin,  who  had  his 
forge  there.  The  smith  owned  a  cow  called  Glas 
Gavlen,  and  she  was  his  enchanted  step-sister. 

This  cow  was  called  Gavlen  because  she  was 
giving  milk,  and  she  the  fifth  year  without  a 
calf.  Glas  Gavlen  was  very  choice  of  food ; 

284  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

she  would  eat  no  grass  but  the  best.  But  if  the 
cow  ate  much  good  grass  there  was  no  measuring 
the  milk  she  gave;  she  filled  every  vessel,  and 
the  milk  was  sweet  and  rich. 

The  smith  set  great  value  on  Glas  Gavlen,  and 
no  wonder,  for  she  was  the  first  cow  that  came 
to  Erin,  and  at  that  time  the  only  one. 

The  smith  took  care  of  the  cow  himself,  and 
never  let  her  out  of  his  sight  except  when  work- 
ing in  his  forge,  and  then  he  had  a  careful  man 
minding  her. 

Balor  had  an  eye  on  Glas  Gavlen,  and  wanted 
to  bring  her  to  Tory  for  his  own  use,  so  he  told 
two  agents  of  his,  Maol  and  Mullag,  who  were 
living  near  Druim  na  Teine,  to  get  the  cow  for 
him.  The  smith  would  not  part  with  Glas 
Gavlen  for  any  price,  so  there  was  no  way  left 
but  to  steal  her.  There  was  no  chance  for  steal- 
ing till  one  time  when  three  brothers,  named 
Duv,  Bonn,  and  Fin,  sons  of  Ceanfaeligh 
(Kinealy),  went  to  the  forge  to  have  three  swords 

"Each  man  of  you  is  to  mind  the  cow  while  I 
am  working,''  said  the  smith,  "and  if  he  loses 
her  I  '11  take  the  head  off  him." 

"We  will  agree  to  that,"  said  the  brothers. 

Duv  and  Bonn  went  with  Glas  Gavlen  on  the 
first  day  and  the  second,  and  brought  her  back 

Balor  on  Tory  Island. 

to  the  smith  safely.  When  his  turn  came  Fin 
took  the  cow  out  on  the  third  day,  but  when 
some  distance  from  the  forge  he  bethought  him- 
self and  ran  back  to  tell  the  smith  not  to  make 
his  sword  so  heavy  as  those  of  his  brothers.  The 
moment  he  was  inside  in  the  forge  Maol  and 
Mullag,  Balor's  men,  stole  the  cow,  and  away 
they  went  quickly,  driving  her  toward  Baile 
Nass.  When  they  came  to  the  brow  of  the 
slope,  where  the  sand  begins,  they  drew  her 
down  to  the  water's  edge  by  the  tail,  and  put 
her  into  a  boat  which  they  had  there  prepared 
and  ready. 

They  sailed  toward  Tory,  but  stopped  at  Inis 
Bofm  (island  of  the  white  cow)  and  put  the  cow 
out  on  land.  She  drank  from  a  well  there,  which 
is  called  since  that  time  Tobar  na  Glaise  (well  of 
the  gray  cow).  After  that  they  sailed  on,  and 
landed  the  same  day  at  Port  na  Glaise,  on  Tory 

When  Fin  came  out  of  the  forge  he  saw  nothing 
of  Glas  Gavlen,  —  neither  trace  nor  sign  of  her. 
He  ran  back  then  with  the  evil  tidings  to  the 

"If  you  fail  to  bring  her  back  to  me  within 
three  days,"  said  Gavidin,  "I'll  take  the  head 
off  you,  according  to  our  bargain.  I  made  the 
sword  to  oblige  you,  and  you  promised  to  bring 
the  cow  or  give  your  head." 

286  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Away  with  Fin  then,  travelling  and  lamenting, 
looking  for  Glas  Gavlen.  He  went  toward  Baile 
Nass  and  came  to  a  place  on  the  strand  where  a 
party  of  men  were  playing  ball.  He  inquired 
of  them  about  the  cow,  but  they  began  to  make 
game  of  him,  he  looked  so  queer  in  himself,  and 
was  so  sad.  At  last  one  of  the  players,  whose 
name  was  Gial  Duv  (Black  Jaw),  came  up  to  Fin 
and  spoke  to  him :  "  Stand  aside  till  the  game  is 
over,  and  I  '11  talk  to  you.  This  is  a  party  of 
players  that  you  should  not  interfere  with ;  they 
are  lucht  sidhe  [people  of  the  mounds,  fairies]. 
I  know  what  your  trouble  is.  I  will  go  with 
you,  and  do  my  best  to  bring  the  cow.  I  know 
where  she  is,  and  if  I  cannot  bring  her,  no  one 

They  searched  down  as  far  as  Maheroerty,  and 
went  then  to  Minlara,  where  a  boat  was  found. 
They  sailed  away  in  the  boat,  and  reached  Tory 
that  night  a  few  hours  after  Maol  and  Mullag. 

"Go  now,"  said  Gial  Duv  to  Fin,  "and  ask 
Balor  what  would  release  the  cow,  and  what  can 
you  do  to  earn  her.  I  '11  stay  here  till  you  come 
back  to  me." 

Fin  went  to  Balor  and  asked  the  question. 

"To  get  the  cow,"  said  Balor,  "you  must  eat 
seven  green  hides  while  one  inch  of  a  rush-light 
is  burning,  and  I  '11  light  it  myself." 

Balor  on  Tory  Island.  287 

Fin  returned  and  told  Gial  Duv.  "Go,"  said 
Gial,  "and  tell  him  you  will  try  to  do  that.  He 
will  put  you  in  a  room  apart  with  the  hides  and 
take  the  rush  himself.  Cut  the  hides  quickly, 
and  if  you  can  cut  them  I  '11  make  away  with 
them.  I  '11  be  there  with  you,  invisible." 

All  this  was  done.  Fin  cut  the  hides  and  Gial 
Duv  put  them  away.  The  moment  the  rush-light 
was  burned  Balor  came  in,  and  there  was  n't  a 
hand's  breadth  of  the  hides  left. 

"  I  have  the  seven  hides  eaten,"  said  Fin. 

"  Come  to  me  to-morrow.  My  daughter  will 
throw  the  cow's  halter.  If  she  throws  it  to  you 
the  cow  will  be  yours." 

Fin  was  let  out  of  the  room  then. 

"Now,"  said  Gial  Duv,  "I'll  take  you  to 
Baler's  daughter.  There  is  a  wall  between  the 
castle  and  the  rest  of  the  island,  and  I  '11  take  you 
over  it.  There  are  cords  along  the  wall  every- 
where, and  whoever  tries  to  pass  over  will  touch 
them  and  sound  all  the  bells  in  the  place.  I  will 
raise  you  above  them  all  and  take  you  in  without 
noise.  You  will  go  first  to  Baler's  daughter; 
she  will  be  pleased  with  you  and  like  you.  After 
that  you  will  see  all  the  other  women,  and  do 
you  be  as  intimate  with  them  as  with  Balor's 
daughter,  so  that  they  will  not  tell  that  you  were 
in  it,  and  be  sure  to  tell  the  daughter  to  throw 
you  the  cow's  halter  to-morrow." 

288  Hero-  Ta  les  of  Ire  la  nd. 

Fin  was  taken  into  the  castle  by  Gial  Duv  with- 
out noise,  and  he  did  all  that  Gial  directed.  Next 
day  Fin  went  to  Balor  and  asked  for  the  cow. 

"  Well,  come  with  me.  Let  my  daughter  throw 
the  halter.  If  she  throws  it  to  you  the  cow  will 
be  yours." 

They  went.  She  threw  the  halter  at  Fin,  and 
Balor  was  very  angry.  "  Oh,  daughter,"  cried 
he,  "what  have  you  done?" 

"  Don't  you  know,"  said  she,  "that  there  is  a 
false  cast  in  every  woman's  hand?  There  is  a 
crooked  vein  in  my  arm,  and  I  could  not  help  it; 
that 's  what  gave  the  halter  to  Fin." 

Balor  had  to  give  the  cow  and  forgive  the 
daughter.  Fin  took  Glas  Gavlen  to  the  main- 
land that  day  and  gave  her  to  the  smith. 

Before  the  year  was  out  Gial  Duv  went  to  Fin 
and  said,  "  Make  ready  and  come  with  me  to 
Tory;  if  you  don't  Balor  will  find  out  what 
happened  when  you  were  on  the  island,  and  kill 
his  own  daughter,  with  the  twelve  women  and  all 
the  children." 

The  two  went  to  Tory  that  evening,  and  when 
the  children  were  born  the"  women  gave  twelve 
of  them  to  Fin  in  a  blanket,  and  one,  Balor' s 
grandson,  by  himself  in  a  separate  cloth.  Fin 
took  his  place  in  the  boat  with  the  twelve  on  his 
back,  and  one  at  his  breast.  The  blanket  was 

Balor  on  Tory  Island.  289 

fastened  at  his  throat  with  a  dealg  (thorn);  the 
thorn  broke  (there  was  a  great  stress  on  it,  for 
the  weather  was  rough),  and  the  twelve  children 
fell  in  the  water  at  Sruth  Deilg  and  became 

"Oh!"  cried  Gial,  "the  children  are  lost. 
Have  you  Balor's  grandson?  " 

"I  have,"  answered  Fin. 

"That  is  well.  We  don't  care  for  the  others 
while  we  have  him." 

They  brought  the  child  to  the  mainland,  where 
a  nurse  was  found,  but  the  child  was  not  thriving 
with  her. 

"Let  us  return  to  Tory  with  the  boy,"  said 
Gial  Duv.  "There  is  nothing  that  Balor  wishes 
for  so  much  as  trees.  He  has  tried  often  to 
make  trees  grow  on  the  island,  but  it  was  no  use 
for  him.  Do  you  promise  that  you  '11  make  a 
grand  forest  on  Tory  if  he  '11  let  some  of  the 
women  nurse  the  child.  Tell  him  that  your 
wife  died  not  long  ago.  Balor  will  say,  '  How 
could  we  find  a  nurse  here  when  there  is  no 
woman  on  the  island  who  has  a  child  of  her 
own?  '  You  will  say  that  't  is  a  power  this  child 
has  that  whatever  woman  touches  him  has  her 
breast  full  of  milk.  I  will  put  you  in  with  the 
women  in  the  evening,  and  do  you  tell  them 
what  is  wanted.  The  mother  is  to  take  the  child 


290  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

first  when  you  go  in  to-morrow,  and  she  will 
hand  him  quickly  to  another  and  that  one  to  a 
third,  and  so  on  before  any  can  be  stopped." 

Fin  gave  the  child  to  Balor's  daughter  before 
her  father  could  come  near  her;  she  gave  him 
to  one  of  the  women,  and  he  was  passed  on  till 
all  twelve  had  had  him.  It  was  found  that  all 
had  milk,  and  Balor  consented  to  let  the  child 
be  nursed. 

Gial  Duv  made  a  large  fine  forest  of  various 
trees.  For  two  years  Balor  was  delighted;  he 
was  the  gladdest  man,  for  all  he  wanted  was  trees 
and  shelter  on  Tory  Island. 

The  child  was  in  good  hands  now  with  his 
mother  and  the  twelve  women,  and  when  able 
to  walk,  Fin  used  to  bring  him  out  in  the  day- 
time. Once  he  kept  him  and  went  to  the  main- 
land. The  next  day  a  terrible  wind  rose,  and  it 
didn't  leave  a  tree  standing  on  Tory.  Balor 
knew  now  that  the  forest  was  all  enchantment 
and  deceit,  and  said  that  he  would  destroy  Fin 
and  all  his  clan  for  playing  such  a  trick  on  him. 
Balor  sent  his  agents  and  servants  to  watch  Fin 
and  kill  him. 

Fin  was  warned  by  Gial  Duv,  and  took  care  of 
himself  for  a  long  time,  but  at  last  they  caught 
him.  It  was  his  custom  to  hunt  in  Glen  Ath, 
for  there  were  many  deer  and  much  game  there 

Balor  on  Tory  Island.  291 

in  those  days,  and  Fin  was  very  fond  of  hunting; 
but  he  shunned  all  their  ambushes,  till  one  even- 
ing when  they  were  lying  in  wait  for  him  in  the 
bushes  by  a  path  which  he  was  travelling  for  the 
first  time.  They  leaped  up  when  he  was  near, 
caught  him,  and  bound  him. 

"Take  the  head  off  me  at  one  blow,"  said  he, 
"and  be  done  with  it." 

They  put  his  head  on  a  stone  and  cut  it  off 
with  one  blow.  In  this  way  died  Fin  Mac- 
Kinealy,  the  father  of  Balor's  grandson.  This 
grandson  was  a  strong  youth  now.  He  was  a 
young  man,  in  fact,  and  his  name  was  Lui  Lavada 
(Lui  Longhand).  He  was  called  Lavada  because 
his  arms  were  so  long  that  he  could  tie  his  shoes  stooping.  Lui  did  not  know  that  he  was 
Balor's  grandson.  He  knew  that  his  father  had 
been  killed  by  Balor's  men,  and  he  was  waiting 
to  avenge  him. 

A  couple  of  years  later  there  was  a  wedding  on 
the  mainland,  and  it  was  the  custom  that  no  one 
was  to  begin  to  eat  at  a  wedding  till  Maol  and 
Mullag  should  carve  the  first  slices.  They  did 
not  come  this  time  in  season,  and  all  the  guests 
were  impatient. 

"I'll  carve  the  meat  for  you,"  said  Balor's 
grandson.  With  that  he  carved  some  slices,  and 
all  present  began  to  eat  and  drink. 

292  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

After  a  while  Maol  and  Mullag  came,  and  they 
were  in  a  great  rage  because  the  people  were 
eating,  drinking,  and  enjoying  the  wedding  feast 
without  themselves. 

When  all  had  finished  eating  and  drinking,  and 
were  ready  to  go  home,  Maol  said,  "The  bride 
will  go  with  me." 

The  bride  began  to  cry  when  she  heard  that, 
and  was  in  great  distress.  Lui  Lavada  asked 
what  trouble  was  on  her,  and  the  people  told 
him,  that  since  Baler's  two  deputies  were  ruling 
on  the  mainland  it  was  their  custom  at  weddings 
that  Maol,  the  first  in  authority,  should  keep 
company  with  the  bride  the  first  evening,  and 
Mullag  the  second  evening. 

"It's  time  to  put  a  stop  to  that,"  said  Lui 
Lavada,  Balor's  grandson.  With  that  he  walked 
up  to  the  two  and  said,  "Ye  '11  go  home  out  of 
this  as  ye  are." 

Maol  answered  with  insult,  and  made  an  offer 
to  strike  him.  Lui  caught  Maol  then  and  split 
his  tongue;  he  cut  a  hole  in  each  of  his  cheeks, 
and  putting  one  half  of  the  tongue  through  the 
left  cheek,  and  the  other  through  the  right,  he 
thrust  a  sliver  of  wood  through  the  tips  of  each 
half.  He  took  Mullag  then  and  treated  him  in 
like  manner. 

The  people  led  the  two  down  to  the  seashore 

Balor  on  Tory  Island.  293 

after  that.  Lui  put  Maol  in  one  boat  and 
Mullag  in  another,  and  let  them  go  with  the 
wind,  which  carried  them  out  in  the  ocean,  and 
there  is  no  account  that  any  man  saved  them. 

Balor  swore  vengeance  on  the  people  for 
destroying  his  men,  and  especially  on  Lui 
Lavada.  He  had  an  eye  in  the  middle  of  his 
forehead  which  he  kept  covered  always  with 
nine  shields  of  thick  leather,  so  that  he  might 
not  open  his  eye  and  turn  it  on  anything,  for 
no  matter  what  Balor  looked  at  with  the  naked 
eye  he  burned  it  to  ashes.  He  set  out  in  a  rage 
then  from  Tory,  and  never  stopped  till  he  landed 
at  Baile  Nass  and  went  toward  Gavidin's  forge. 
The  grandson  was  there  before  him,  and  had  a 
spear  ready  and  red  hot. 

When  Balor  had  eight  shields  raised  from  the 
evil  eye,  and  was  just  raising  the  ninth,  Lui 
Lavada  sent  the  red  spear  into  it.  Balor  pur- 
sued his  grandson,  who  retreated  before  him, 
going  south,  and  never  stopped  till  he  reached 
Dun  Lui,  near  Errigal  Mountain.  There  he  sat 
on  a  rock,  wearied  and  exhausted.  While  he 
was  sitting  there,  everything  came  to  his  mind 
that  he  did  since  the  time  that  his  men  stole 
Glas  Gavlen  from  Gavidin  Gow.  "I  see  it  all 
now,"  said  he.  "This  is  my  grandson  who  has 
given  the  mortal  blow  to  me.  He  is  the  son  of 

294  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

my  daughter  and  Fin  MacKinealy.  No  one  else 
could  have  given  that  spear  cast  but  him." 
With  that  Balor  called  to  the  grandson  and 
said,  "  Come  near  now.  Take  the  head  off  me 
and  place  it  above  on  your  own  a  few  moments. 
You  will  know  everything  in  the  world,  and  no 
one  will  be  able  to  conquer  you." 

Lui  took  the  head  off  his  grandfather,  and, 
instead  of  putting  it  on  his -own  head,  he  put  it 
on  a  rock.  The  next  moment  a  drop  came  out 
of  the  head,  made  a  thousand  pieces  of  the  rock, 
and  dug  a  hole  in  the  earth  three  times  deeper 
than  Loch  Foyle,  —  the  deepest  lake  in  the 
world  up  to  that  time,  —  and  so  long  that  in  that 
hole  are  the  waters  of  Gweedore  Loch,  they 
have  been  there  from  that  day  to  this. 

The  above  tale  I  wrote  down  on  the  mainland, 
where  I  found  also  another  version,  but  inferior 
to  this.  On  Tory  itself  I  found  two  versions, 
both  incomplete.  Though  differing  in  particu- 
lars, the  argument  is  the  same  in  all.  Balor  is 
represented  as  living  on  Tory  to  escape  the  doom 
which  threatens  him  through  a  coming  grandson; 
he  covets  the  cow  Glas  Gavlen,  and  finally  gains 
her  through  his  agents. 

The  theft  of  the  cow  is  the  first  act  in  a  series 
which  ends  with  the  death  of  Balor  at  Gweedore, 

Balor  on  Tory  Island. 


and  brings  about  the  fulfilment  of  the  prophecy. 
In  all  the  variants  of  the  tale  Balor  is  the  same 
unrepentant,  unconquerable  character,  — the  man 
whom  nothing  can  bend,  who  tries  to  avenge  his 
own  fate  after  his  death  by  the  destruction  of  his 
grandson.  The  grandson  does  not  know  whom 
he  is  about  to  kill.  He  slays  Balor  to  avenge 
his  father,  Fin  MacKinealy,  according  to  the 
vendetta  of  the  time. 


ONG  ago  there  were  people  in  Erin  called 
~^-/  Firbolgs;  and  they  lived  undisturbed  many 
years,  till  a  king  called  Balor  Beiman  came  from 
Lochlin  with  great  forces,  made  war  on  the 
Firbolgs,  killed  their  king,  and  drove  themselves 
out  of  Erin. 

The  Firbolgs  went  to  Spain ;  and  there  they 
were  looking  for  means  of  support,  but  could 
find  none,  unless  what  they  got  for  work  in 
carrying  mortar. 

They  carried  mortar,  and  lived  that  way  till  at 
long  last  the  Spaniards  said,  "These  people  are 
too  many  in  number;  let  us  drive  them  out  of 
the  country."  So  the  Spaniards  drove  out  the 
Firbolgs,  and  they  came  back  to  Erin.  In  Erin 
they  attacked  Balor  and  his  Lochlin  men,  but 
were  defeated  with  loss  a  second  time.  When 
they  left  Erin  again,  the  Firbolgs  went  to  the 
lands  of  Gallowna,  and  there  they  lived  undis- 
turbed and  unharmed. 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.  297 

When  the  Firbolgs  were  driven  out  of  Erin 
the  second  time,  Balor  Beiman  summoned  his 
chief  men,  and  said  to  them,  "I  will  go  back  to 
Lochlin  now  and  live  there  in  quiet.  I  am  too 
old  to  fight  with  new  enemies.  I  will  leave  my 
sons  here  with  you  to  rule  in  place  of  myself; 
and  do  ye  obey  them,  and  be  as  brave  under 
them  as  ye  were  under  me." 

With  that  Balor  left  Erin,  sailed  away,  and 
never  stopped  till  he  reached  home  in  Lochlin. 

At  that  time  there  was  a  smith  in  Erin  named 
Gaivnin  Gow,  and  he  had  a  cow  called  Glas 
Gownach.  The  smith  had  a  magic  halter  with 
which  he  used  to  tie  the  cow  every  night. 

Glas  Gownach  travelled  three  provinces  of  Erin 
every  day,  and  came  home  in  the  evening;  the 
halter  had  power  over  her,  and  she  went  always 
to  the  halter  in  the  evening  if  left  to  herself. 

The  cow  gave  milk  to  every  one  on  her  journey 
each  day,  —  no  matter  how  large  the  vessels  were 
that  people  brought,  or  how  many,  she  filled 
them;  there  was  no  lack  of  milk  in  Erin  while 
that  cow  was  in  it.  She  was  sent  to  give  food 
and  comfort  to  all,  and  she  gave  it,  but  especially 
to  poor  people. 

Balor  Beiman  had  his  eye  on  the  cow,  and, 
when  going  back  to  Lochlin  from  Erin,  he 
watched  his  chance  and  stole  the  halter.  Gaivnin 

298  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Gow  saw  the  theft,  but  too  late  to  prevent  it. 
Balor  escaped  with  the  halter,  and  made  off  to 

Gaivnin  Gow  ran  quickly  to  Glas  Gownach, 
caught  her  by  the  tail,  and  held  her  that  way  till 
evening,  when  he  drove  her  home  carefully,  and 
shut  her  up  in  the  forge  behind  the  bellows, 
where  he  milked  her. 

Gaivnin  Gow  stopped  work  in  his  forge  now, 
and  did  nothing  but  mind  the  cow.  He  went 
out  in  the  morning,  followed  her  through  every 
place,  and  brought  her  back  in  the  evening.  He 
held  her  tail  all  the  day,  and  never  let  go  his 
hold  of  her  till  he  had  her  fastened  behind  the 

The  people  got  milk  as  before  from  Glas 
Gownach  wherever  she  went  through  the  coun- 
try; but  the  smith  got  no  milk  till  he  had  the 
cow  enclosed  in  the  forge. 

The  widow  of  the  king  of  the  Firbolgs  took 
a  new  husband  in  the  land  of  Gallowna,  and 
had  seven  sons  there.  When  the  eldest,  Geali 
Dianvir,  had  grown  up,  she  said  to  him,  "I  will 
give  you  ships  now,  and  go  you  to  Erin  with 
warriors  and  good  champions  to  know  can  we  get 
satisfaction  of  those  people  who  hunted  us  out  of 
our  country  like  hares  or  foxes. " 

The  son  took  the  ships,  and  sailed  away  with 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.    299 

champions  and  heroes,  and  never  stopped  till  he 
sailed  into  Caola  Beag  (Killybegs,  in  Donegal). 
He  landed  in  that  place,  left  his  ships  safely 
fastened,  and  went  forward  travelling.  He  never 
stopped  on  his  way  nor  halted  till  he  came  to  a 
place  called  Blan  Ri.  He  halted  in  that  place, 
for  before  him  were  three  armies  fighting. 

When  they  saw  the  new  forces  coming,  the 
armies  stopped  fighting. 

"Why  are  ye  fighting  here  with  three 
armies?"  asked  Dianvir;  "what  is  the  cause  of 
your  struggle?  " 

The  leader  of  one  army  said,  "We  are  brothers; 
our  father  died  not  long  since;  he  was  king  of 
three  provinces,  and  I  think  it  my  right  to  be 
king  in  his  place." 

The  leader  of  the  second  army,  the  middle 
brother,  said,  "  I  have  as  much  right  to  be  king 
after  my  father  as  he  has." 

The  third  brother  said,  "  I  have  as  much  right 
to  be  king  as  either  of  them. " 

Neither  of  the  three  was  willing  to  yield  his 
claim,  or  obey  one  of  the  others;  but  they  were 
all  ready  to  fight  while  their  strength  lasted. 

"Your  trouble  can  be  settled  easily,"  said 
Dianvir;  "if  ye  are  willing." 

"Settle  it,  and  do  us  a  service,"  said  the  eldest 

300  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  will;  but  ye  must  take  my  judgment  and 
obey  it." 

"We  will,"  said  all  the  brothers.  "We  will 
accept  your  decision,  and  do  what  you  tell  us." 

"Listen,  then,"  said  Dianvir:  "you,  the  eldest, 
will  be  king  for  this  year.  You,  the  second, 
will  be  king  in  his  place  the  second  year;  and 
you,  the  youngest  brother,  will  be  king  the  third 
year.  The  fourth  year,  you,  the  eldest  brother, 
will  be  king  again  for  a  year;  and  so  it  will  go 
on,  and  you  and  your  two  brothers  will  be  spend- 
ing time  happily  all  your  lives." 

The  three  brothers  agreed,  and  were  glad.  The 
eldest  was  king  that  first  year.  Dianvir  went  his 
way;  but  he  had  hardly  gone  out  of  their  sight 
when  the  youngest  of  the  three  brothers  said, 
"That  man  will  make  trouble  for  us  yet;  my 
advice  is  to  follow  him,  and  put  an  end  to  himself 
and  his  men  before  they  can  harm  us. " 

"Oh,"  said  the  eldest,  "sure  ye  would  not  kill 
the  man  who  gave  us  good  counsel  and  settled 
our  difficulty?" 

"No  matter  what  he  did,"  said  the  youngest; 
"he  will  give  you  trouble  yet  if  ye  let  him  go. 
Follow  him,  put  an  end  to  him,  or  he  will  put 
an  end  to  us." 

They  sent  men  after  Dianvir.  As  Dianvir  was 
a  stranger  in  Erin  he  had  no  knowledge  of  the 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.  301 

roads :  when  a  lake  was  before  him  he  was  long 
going  around  it;  when  he  came  to  a  deep  river 
he  was  long  finding  a  ford. 

Dianvir's  men  were  cut  off,  most  of  them  fell, 
and  he  himself  fell  with  others.  A  small  num- 
ber escaped  to  the  ships,  took  one  of  them,  and 
sailed  to  the  land  of  Gallowna.  They  told  the 
queen  the  whole  story,  told  how  they  had  been 
treated  with  treachery. 

"I  will  have  satisfaction  for  my  son,"  said  the 
mother.  "  I  will  have  it  without  waiting  long. " 
With  that  she  had  ships  and  boats  prepared,  and 
went  herself  with  her  other  sons,  and  strong 
forces,  to  take  vengeance  on  the  brothers.  The 
queen  and  her  forces  were  six  weeks  sailing 
hither  and  over,  driven  by  strong  winds,  when 
one  morning  a  sailor  at  the  topmast  cried,  "  I 
see  land!" 

"Is  it  more  or  less  of  it  that  you  see?  "  asked 
the  queen. 

"I  see  land,  the  size  of  a  pig's  back,"  said  the 
sailor,  "and  a  black  back  it  is." 

They  sailed  three  days  and  nights  longer,  and 
on  the  fourth  morning  they  were  near  shore,  and 
landed  in  Bantry  (White  Strand).  The  queen 
fixed  her  house  at  Ardneevy,  and  prepared  for 
action;  but  instead  of  the  three  brothers  it  was 
the  sons  of  Balor  she  had  against  her. 

Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

War  began,  and  the  Lochlin  men  were  getting 
the  upper  hand  the  first  days.  At  some  distance 
from  their  camp  was  a  well  of  venom,  and  into 
this  well  they  dipped  their  swords  and  spears 
before  going  to  battle,  and  the  man  of  the  enemy 
who  was  barely  grazed  by  a  weapon  dipped  in 
the  well  was  as  badly  off  as  the  man  whose  head 
was  taken  from  him.  There  was  no  chance  now 
for  the  queen's  forces,  so  she  called  her  sons  and 
said  to  them,  "We'll  be  destroyed  to  the  last 
one  unless  we  find  help  against  this  venom.  Go 
to  the  Old  Blind  Sage,  and  ask  advice  of  him." 

The  sons  went  to  the  sage,  and  the  advice  they 
got  was  this,  — 

"  There  is  a  well  of  venom  not  far  from  the 
camp  of  the  Lochlin  men.  Before  going  to 
battle  they  dip  their  swords  and  spears  in  that 
water,  and  the  enemy  who  is  touched  by  those 
weapons  that  day  is  killed  as  surely  as  if  the 
head  had  been  swept  from  him.  Ye  are  to  get 
twenty  measures  of  the  milk  of  Glas  Gownach, 
and  pour  it  into  that  well  in  the  night-time;  the 
milk  will  be  going  down  in  the  well  and  the 
poison  will  be  rising  and  going  out  till  it  flows 
away  and  is  lost  altogether.  Take,  then,  a  hun- 
dred swords  and  spears  to  Gaivnin  Gow,  the 
smith,  to  put  temper  on  their  points  and  edges. 
He  will  do  this  if  ye  follow  the  cow  all  day 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  L  avada.  303 

for    him    and    bring    her    home    safely    in    the 

The  queen's  sons  did  what  the  sage  advised. 
The  venom  went  from  the  well  when  the  cow's 
milk  was  poured  into  it.  From  that  night  out 
the  weapons  of  the  Lochlin  men  were  common 
swords  and  spears. 

When  the  queen's  sons  went  with  the  swords 
and  spears  to  Gaivnin  Gow,  he  said,  "I  cannot 
work  for  you.  I  am  minding  this  cow,  Glas 
Gownach,  that  travels  three  provinces  of  Erin 
every  day;  I  must  go  with  her  wherever  she 
goes,  bring  her  home,  and  put  her  behind  the 
bellows  in  the  forge  every  night.  If  the  cow 
goes  from  me  I  am  lost,  with  my  wife  and 
children.  We  have  no  means  of  support  but 
her  milk." 

"I  am  as  good  a  man  as  you,"  said  the  best  of 
the  brothers ;  "  I  will  mind  the  cow,  and  bring  her 
back  in  the  evening." 

The  smith  let  the  cow  go  with  him  at  last,  and 
went  to  work  at  the  swords  and  spears.  The 
young  man  followed  the  cow  faithfully,  all  day, 
brought  her  back  in  the  evening,  left  her  outside 
the  forge,  and  went  in  himself.  The  smith  had 
the  swords  and  spears  tempered. 

"Where  is  the  cow  Glas  Gownach?"  asked 
Gaivnin  Gow. 

"Outside  at  the  door." 

304  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Bad  luck  to  you,  she  is  gone  from  me  now, 
gone  forever ! " 

They  went  out.  Not  a  trace  of  Glas  Gownach. 
She  had  gone  to  Balor  Beiman  in  Lochlin,  for  he 
had  the  halter. 

There  was  a  great  battle  on  the  following  day, 
the  queen  fell  and  her  sons,  except  two.  Balor's 
sons  were  all  killed,  and  the  Lochlin  men  driven 

Balor  rose  up  in  anger  when  the  news  came  to 
Lochlin.  "I'll  have  satisfaction  for  my  sons," 
said  he.  "  I  will  burn  all  Erin  !  " 

Besides  his  two  eyes  Balor  had  a  third  one, 
an  evil  eye,  in  the  middle  of  his  forehead,  with 
the  power  to  burn  everything  in  the  world  that 
it  looked  upon.  Over  this  eye  he  kept  seven 
steel  shields,  and  a  lock  on  each  one  of  them. 

"  I  will  destroy  Erin,  and  no  man  can  stop  me," 
said  Balor;  "for  no  man  can  kill  me  but  the  son 
of  my  daughter.  She  has  no  son,  and  if  she  had 
itself,  he  could  kill  me  only  with  the  red  spear 
made  by  Gaivnin  Gow,  and  it  cast  into  my  eye 
the  moment  I  raise  the  last  shield  from  it,  when 
I  am  standing  on  Muin  Duv T  [Black  Back]  to 
burn  Erin. " 

One  day  the  two  brothers  were  talking,   and 

1  This  is  the  high  point,  "  the  size  of  a  pig's  back/'  which  the 
sailor  saw  from  the  topmast. 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.  305 

Cian,  the  youngest  son  of  the  queen  of  the 
Firbolgs,  said  to  his  only  living  brother,  "We 
have  done  great  harm  to  Gaivnin  Gow.  It  is  by 
us  that  the  cow  went  from  him,  and  we  should 
bring  her  back." 

"That  is  more  than  we  can  do,"  said  the 
second  brother,  "unless  we  get  help  from  Bark 
an  Tra,  the  druid. " 

The  two  brothers  went  to  Bark  an  Tra,  and 
Cian  told  their  story. 

"The  work  is  a  hard  one;  I  don't  know  can 
you  do  it,"  said  the  druid;  "but  you  can  try;  I 
will  help  you.  The  cow  is  with  Balor  Beiman, 
in  Lochlin.  He  stole  her  halter  when  he  went 
from  Erin ;  and  she  followed  it  the  day  your 
brother  left  her  outside  the  forge.  No  man  can 
bring  the  cow  with  him  unless  he  has  the  halter, 
and  it  is  hard  to  get  that. 

"  Balor  Beiman  can  be  killed  only  by  the  son 
of  his  daughter;  he  has  her  behind  seven  locked 
doors.  No  living  person  sees  the  daughter  but 
himself.  He  sees  her  every  day,  takes  food  and 
drink  to  her.  To  bring  back  the  cow  you  must 
make  the  acquaintance  of  Balor's  daughter.  I 
will  give  you  a  cloak  of  darkness;  put  it  over 
you,  and  make  your  way  to  Lochlin.  When 
Balor  goes  to  see  his  daughter,  you  go  with  him. 
He  opens  one  door,  goes  in  and  locks  it,  opens 


306  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  second,  goes  in  and  locks  that,  and  so  on. 
When  he  is  inside  in  his  daughter's  chamber  the 
seven  doors  are  locked  behind  him." 

Cian  put  on  the  cloak  of  darkness,  and  no  man 
could  see  him;  he  went  to  Lochlin  then,  and 
followed  Balor  to  his  daughter's  chamber.  He 
waited  till  the  night  when  she  was  sleeping, 
went  then  to  her  bedside,  and  put  his  hand  on 
her  heavily. 

She  screamed,  saying,  "  Some  one  is  in  the 

Balor  came,  very  angry  and  with  an  evil  face, 
to  see  who  was  in  it.  He  searched  the  chamber 
through,  searched  many  times,  found  no  one. 
Failing  to  find  any  one,  he  returned  to  his  own 
place  and  went  to  bed.  Cian  came  again  and 
put  a  heavier  hand  on  Balor's  daughter.  She 
roared  out  that  some  one  was  in  the  chamber. 
Balor  came,  searched,  and  looked  several  times, 
and  went  away.  The  third  time  the  young  man 
put  a  still  heavier  hand  on  the  maiden,  and  she 
screamed  louder.  Balor  searched  this  time  more 
carefully,  found  no  man,  and  said,  "  Oh,  you  are 
a  torment;  it  's  dreaming  you  are.  You  are  hop- 
ing for  some  one  to  be  in  the  world  to  destroy 
me,  but  that  is  what  never  will  be.  If  I  hear 
another  scream  here  I  will  take  the  head  off 
you  surely." 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.  307 

No  sooner  was  Balor  gone  this  time,  and  the 
seven  doors  locked,  than  the  young  man  came 
again,  and  put  a  heavier  hand  than  ever  on  the 
maiden.  She  did  not  scream  then ;  she  was  in 
dread  of  her  father,  but  said  slowly,  "Are  you 
a  living  man  or  a  ghost?  " 

"I  am  so  and  so,"  said  Cian,  "the  best  cham- 
pion in  the  world,  and  I  have  come  here  to  win 
you."  He  talked  on  till  he  pleased  her,  they 
agreed  then.  He  spent  three  days  in  her  com- 
pany. On  the  fourth  day  he  followed  Balor  out 
of  the  chamber,  and  away  with  him  back  to  Erin. 
He  went  to  Bark  an  Tra,  the  druid. 

"Were  you  in  Lochlin  with  Balor ?" 

"I  was." 

"  How  did  you  behave  ?  " 

"So  and  so,"  said  Cian. 

"You  must  be  there  again  at  the  right  time." 

Cian  was  back  in  Lochlin  at  the  right  time, 
unseen  in  his  cloak  of  darkness,  and  brought 
away  a  child  with  him  to  Erin.  The  child  was 
not  thriving  for  three  years,  hardly  lived,  and 
was  puny. 

"The  child  is  not  doing  well,"  said  Cian  to 
the  druid. 

"The  child  will  do  well  yet,"  answered  Bark 
an  Tra.  "Take  him  now  to  Lochlin  as  far  as 
Balor;  the  child  will  not  thrive  till  his  grand- 
father calls  him  by  name." 

308  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

Cian  went  to  Balor.  "Well,"  said  Balor,  "who 
are  you  and  what  journey  are  you  on?  " 

"  I  am  a  poor  man  looking  for  service." 

"  What  child  is  that  you  have  with  you  ?  " 

"My  own  child,"  said  Cian;  "my  wife  is 

"  What  can  you  do?  "  asked  Balor. 

"I  am  the  best  gardener  in  the  world." 

"I  have  a  better  gardener  than  you,"  said 

"  You  have  not.  What  can  your  gardener 

"  The  tree  that  he  plants  on  M'onday  morning 
has  the  finest  ripe  apples  in  the  world  on  Satur- 
day night." 

"  That 's  nothing.  The  tree  that  I  plant  in  the 
morning  I  '11  pluck  from  it  in  the  evening  the 
finest  ripe  apples  you  have  ever  set  eyes  on." 

"  I  do  not  like  to  have  any  child  near  my 
castle,"  said  Balor;  "but  I  will  keep  you  for  a 
time,  even  with  the  child,  if  your  wages  are  not 
too  great  for  me." 

"  I  will  work  a  day  and  a  year  for  the  cow." 

Balor  agreed  to  the  terms,  and  took  Cian. 
Balor  spoke  no  word  to  the  child,  good  or  bad, 
and  the  boy  was  not  thriving.  One  day  Cian 
was  bringing  to  Balor  a  lot  of  fine  apples  from 
one  of  his  trees;  he  stumbled  on  the  threshold, 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.  309 

and  the  apples  fell  to  the  floor.  All  the  people 
present  ran  to  gather  the  apples,  the  child  better 
than  others.  He  worked  so  nimbly  that  he  picked 
up  two-thirds  of  all  that  had  fallen,  though  a 
whole  crowd  was  picking  as  well  as  himself. 

"  Tog  leat  Lui  Lavada  [Take  away  with  you 
Little  Long  Hand],"  cried  Balor. 

"Oh,  he  has  the  name  now,"  said  Cian. 

Cian  worked  his  time  out  then,  and  said,  "  I 
will  take  my  pay  another  day." 

"You  may  take  it  when  you  like,"  said  Balor. 

Cian  took  his  son  to  Erin;  the  child  grew 
wonderfully  after  that,  and  was  soon  of  full 

Cian  went  to  the  druid. 

"The  time  is  near,"  said  the  druid,  "when 
Balor  will  stand  on  Muin  Duv.  He'll  raise  his 
eye-shields ;  and  if  the  red  spear  is  not  put  in  his 
eye  when  the  last  shield  is  raised,  all  Erin  will 
be  burned  in  one  flash.  Go  now  and  ask  Balor 
Beiman  for  your  wages;  say  that  you  want  the 
cow  Glas  Gownach,  for  we  want  her  and  must 
have  her.  He  will  refuse,  dispute,  and  quarrel, 
give  bad  names.  You  will  say  that  he  must  pay 
you,  must  give  the  cow  or  go  to  judgment.  He 
will  go 'to  judgment  rather  than  give  the  cow; 
and  do  you  choose  his  daughter  as  judge;  she 
will  give  the  cow  to  you." 

310  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  I  will  go  to  judgment,"  said  Balor,  when  Cian 
insisted  on  getting  the  cow.  "What  judgment 
will  you  have?  " 

"My  case  is  a  true  one,"  said  Cian.  "I  ask 
no  judge  but  the  one  yourself  will  take.  I  ask 
no  judge  but  your  own  daughter." 

"Let  her  be  the  judge,"  said  Balor. 

Cian  put  on  his  cloak  of  darkness,  and,  going 
to  the  daughter,  explained  his  case  to  her.  Next 
day  Balor  went  in  and  told  her  all  the  story  of 
the  cow  Glas  Gownach. 

"  I  must  have  nine  days  to  think  the  matter 
over,"  said  Balor 's  daughter. 

She  got  the  time,  then  she  asked  three  days 
more.  On  the  thirteenth  morning  Balor  went 
to  her  and  said,  "The  judgment  must  be  made 

"Well,  "said  the  daughter,  "go  out  now  and 
stand  before  the  window,  you  and  the  gardener, 
and  to  whomever  the  halter  comes  from  me  he  '11 
have  the  cow. " 

When  they  stood  in  front  of  the  window,  she 
threw  the  halter  to  Cian. 

"  How  could  you  do  that?  "  cried  out  Balor. 

"  Oh,  father,  they  say  there  is  always  a  crooked 
cast  in  a  woman's  hand.  I  threw  toward  you; 
but  it  's  to  the  gardener  the  halter  went." 

Balor   let  the  cow   go.      He  was  very  angry, 

Balor  of  the  Evil  Eye  and  Lui  Lavada.  3 1 1 

but  could  not  help  himself.  "  You  have  Glas 
Gownach;  but  I  '11  have  satisfaction  in  my  own 
time,"  cried  he,  as  Cian  went  away. 

"  We  have  troubled  you  greatly  with  our  work," 
said  Cian  to  Gaivnin  Gow;  "but  here  is  the  cow 
for  you,  and  with  her  the  halter.  You  can  stay 
at  home  now  and  rest;  you  need  follow  her  no 

Cian  went  that  night  to  the  druid,  and  said,  "  I 
have  the  cow  back  in  Erin." 

"It  is  well  that  you  have,"  answered  the  druid. 
"  In  five  days  from  this  Balor  will  be  here  to 
burn  up  Erin.  He  will  stand  on  Muin  Duv  at 
daybreak.  He  will  raise  all  the  shields  from 
his  eye;  and  unless  a  spear  made  by  Gaivnin 
Gow  is  hurled  into  his  eye  by  his  grandson  that 
instant,  he  will  have  all  Erin  in  flames.  You 
must  bring  Gaivnin  Gow  and  the  forge  with  you 
to  Muin  Duv,  have  the  spear  made,  and  all  things 
prepared  there;  and  your  son  must  be  ready  to 
throw  the  red  spear  at  the  right  moment." 

Gaivnin  Gow  came.  They  brought  the  forge, 
the  spear,  and  all  that  was  needed,  put  them 
behind  a  rock  on  the  side  of  Muin  Duv.  On  the 
fifth  morning,  at  daylight,  Balor  was  on  the  top 
of  Muin  Duv;  and  the  instant  the  last  shield 
reached  his  upper  eyelid  Lui  Lavada  struck  him 
with  the  spear,  and  Balor  fell  dead. 


^f^HE  King  of  Leinster  was  at  war  for  twenty 
years,  and  conquered  all  before  him.  He 
had  a  son  named  Art  ;  and,  when  the  wars  were 
over,  this  son  was  troubled  because  he  could  find 
no  right  bride  for  himself.  No  princess  could 
suit  him  or  his  father;  for  they  wanted  an  only 
daughter.  In  this  trouble  they  went  to  the  old 

"Wait,"  said  the  druid,  "till  I  read  my  book 
of  enchantment;  and  then  I  will  tell  you  where 
to  find  such  a  woman." 

He  read  his  book,  but  could  find  no  account  of 
an  only  daughter  of  the  right  age  and  station. 
At  last  the  druid  said  to  the  king,  "Proclaim 
over  all  Erin  that  if  any  man  knows  of  such  a 
princess  he  is  to  come  to  this  castle  and  tell 

The  king  did  as  the  druid  advised.  At  long 
last  a  sailor  walked  the  way,  and  went  to  the 
king.  "I  know,"  said  he,  "of  the  woman  you 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.          3 1 3 

"Who  is  she?  "  asked  the  king. 

"The  only  daughter  of  the  King  of  Greece, 
and  she  is  beautiful.  But  it  is  better  to  keep 
your  son  at  home  than  to  send  him  abroad ;  for 
there  is  no  man  who  could  not  find  a  good  wife 
in  Erin." 

Art  would  not  listen  to  this  advice,  but  said, 
"  I  will  go  and  get  that  one." 

Next  morning  he  made  ready,  took  farewell 
of  his  father,  and  away  he  went  on  his  journey. 
He  rode  a  fine  steed  to  the  seashore;  there  he 
took  a  ship,  and  nothing  more  is  told  of  him  till 
he  touched  land  in  Greece.  The  King  of  Greece 
received  Art  with  great  welcome,  gave  a  feast 
of  seven  days  in  his  honor,  and  sent  heralds 
through  the  city  declaring  that  any  man  who 
would  fall  asleep  till  the  end  of  the  seven  days 
would  have  the  head  swept  off  his  body. 

Silk  and  satin  were  spread  under  Art's  feet, 
and  respect  of  every  kind  shown  him.  He  was 
entertained  seven  days,  and  at  last,  when  the 
king  didn't  ask  him  what  journey  he  was  on,  he 
said,  "  It  is  a  wonder  to  me  that  you  do  not  ask 
what  brought  me,  and  why  I  am  travelling. " 

"I  am  not  surprised  at  all,"  said  the  king. 
"A  good  father's  son  like  you,  and  a  man  of  such 
beauty,  ought  to  travel  all  nations,  and  see  every 

314  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  I  am  not  travelling  to  show  myself  nor  to  see 
people.  Men  told  me  that  you  have  an  only 
daughter.  I  want  her  in  marriage,  and  't  is  for 
her  sake  that  I  am  here." 

"I  have  never  heard  news  I  liked  better,"  said 
the  king;  "and  if  my  daughter  is  willing,  and 
her  mother  is  satisfied,  you  have  my  blessing." 

Art  went  to  the  queen  and  told  her  the  cause 
of  his  coming. 

"If  the  king  and  my  daughter  are  satisfied," 
replied  she,  "that  is  the  best  tale  that  man 
could  bring  me." 

Art  went  to  the  princess,  and  she  said,  "  If  my 
father  and  mother  are  willing,  your  words  are 
most  welcome  to  me;  but  there  is  one  obstacle 
between  us,  —  I  can  marry  no  man  but  the  man 
who  will  bring  me  the  head  of  the  Gruagach  of 
Bungling  Leaps." 
.  "Where  is  he  to  be  found?  "  asked  Art. 

"If  'twas  in  the  east  he  was,  I  would  direct 
you  to  the  west;  and  if  't  was  in  the  west  he  was, 
I  would  send  you  to  the  east  :  but  not  to  harm 
you  would  I  do  this,  for  thousands  of  men  have 
gone  toward  that  gruagach,  and  not  a  man  of 
them  has  ever  come  back." 

"Your  opinion  of  me  is  not  very  high.  I  must 
follow  my  nose  and  find  the  road." 

Next  morning  Art  took  farewell  of  the  king, 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach. 

and  went  his  way  travelling  to  know  could  he 
find  the  gruagach.  At  that  time  gruagachs  and 
heroes  lived  in  old  castles.  Art  inquired  and 
inquired  till  he  heard  where  the  gruagach  lived. 

At  last  he  came  to  the  castle,  and  shouted  out- 
side; but  if  he  did  it  was  no  use  for  him,  he  got 
no  answer.  Art  walked  in,  found  the  gruagach 
on  the  flat  of  his  back,  fast  asleep  and  snoring. 
The  gruagach  had  a  sword  in  his  hand.  Art 
caught  the  sword,  but  could  not  stir  it  from  the 
grasp  of  the  gruagach, 

"'T  is  hard  to  say,"  thought  he,  "that  I  could 
master  you  awake,  if  I  can  do  nothing  to  you  in 
your  slumber;  but  it  would  be  a  shame  to  strike 
a  sleeping  man." 

He  hit  the  gruagach  with  the  flat  of  his  sword 
below  the  knee,  and  woke  him.  The  gruagach 
opened  his  eyes,  sat  up,  and  said,  "  It  would  be 
fitter  for  you  to  be  herding  cows  and  horses  than 
to  be  coming  to  this  place  to  vex  me." 

"  I  am  not  here  to  give  excuse  or  satisfaction 
to  you,"  said  Art,  "but  to  knock  satisfaction  out 
of  your  flesh,  bones,  and  legs,  and  I  '11  take  the 
head  off  you  if  I  can." 

"  It  seems,  young  man,  that  it  is  a  princess 
you  want ;  and  she  will  not  marry  you  without 
my  head." 

"That  is  the  truth." 

3i 6  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"What  is  your  name?"  asked  the  gruagach ; 
"and  from  what  country  do  you  come? " 

"  My  name  is  Art,  and  I  am  son  of  the  King 
of  Leinster,  in  Erin." 

"  Your  name  is  great,  and  there  is  loud  talk  of 
you,  but  your  size  is  not  much;  and  if  the  prin- 
cess were  in  question  between  us,  I  would  think 
as  little  of  putting  that  small  hill  there  on  the 
top  of  the  big  one  beyond  it  as  of  killing  you. 
For  your  father's  sake,  I  would  not  harm  you; 
your  father  is  as  good  a  man  for  a  stranger  to 
walk  to  as  there  is  in  the  world;  and  for  that 
reason  go  home  and  don't  mind  me  or  the  prin- 
cess, for  your  father  and  mother  waited  long  for 
you,  and  would  be  sorry  to  lose  you." 

"Very  thankful  am  I,"  said  Art,  "for  your 
kind  speech ;  but  as  I  came  so  far  from  home, 
and  want  the  princess,  I  '11  knock  a  trial  out  of 
you  before  I  leave  this  place." 

Next  morning  the  two  faced  each  other,  and 
fought  like  wild  bulls,  wild  geese,  or  wolves, 
fought  all  day  with  spears  and  swords.  Art  was 
growing  weak,  and  was  not  injuring  the  gruagach 
till  evening,  when  he  thought,  "Far  away  am  I 
from  father,  mother,  home,  and  country."  With 
that  he  got  the  strength  of  a  hundred  men,  gave 
one  blow  to  the  gruagach  under  the  chin,  and 
sent  his  head  spinning  through  the  air.  That 
moment  the  body  went  down  through  the  earth. 

A rt  and  Balor  Beimenach .  317 

When  the  body  disappeared,  Art  thought  the 
head  would  come  down  like  any  other  thing;  but 
the  earth  opened,  and  the  head  flew  into  the 
earth  and  vanished. 

"  I  will  go  back  to  the  castle  of  the  King  of 
Greece,"  thought  Art,  "and  tell  him  the  whole 

On  the  way  to  the  castle,  and  while  passing  a 
cabin,  a  big  old  man  came  out  of  the  cabin,  and 
cried,  "  Welcome,  Art,  son  of  the  King  of  Lein- 
ster.  It  is  too  far  you  are  going  to-night.  Stay 
with  me,  if  you  like  my  entertainment." 

"Very  thankful  am  I,"  said  Art,  "and  glad  to 
stay  with  you.  It  is  weak  and  tired  I  am." 

When  he  went  in,  the  old  man  stripped  him, 
put  him  first  into  a  caldron  of  venom,  and  then 
into  a  caldron  of  cure,  and  he  was  as  well  as 

"Would  go  against  the  gruagach  to-morrow?  " 
asked  the  old  man. 

"I  would  if  I  knew  where  to  find  him." 

"You  will  find  him  where  he  was  to-day;  but 
he  will  be  twice  as  strong  to-morrow,  since  you 
vexed  him  to-day." 

After  breakfast  Art  went  to  the  castle,  and 
found  the  gruagach  asleep,  as  the  first  time, 
struck  him  with  the  .flat  of  his  sword,  but  so 
hard  that  he  saw  stars. 

318  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Art,  son  of  the  King  of  Leinster,  you  are  not 
satisfied  yet;  but  you  will  suffer." 

"I  am  not  satisfied,"  said  Art.  "I'll  have 
your  head  or  you  will  have  mine." 

"Go  home  to  your  father  and  mother;  don't 
trouble  me:  that  is  my  advice. " 

"I  am  thankful  to  you,"  said  Art,  jestingly; 
"but  I  '11  take  a  trial  of  you." 

They  fought  as  before.  The  gruagach  had 
twice  the  strength  of  the  first  day;  and  Art  was 
knocking  no  quarters  out  of  him,  but  suffering 
from  every  blow,  his  flesh  falling  and  his  blood 

"I  am  not  to  last  long,"  thought  Art,  "unless 
I  can  do  something."  He  remembered  his 
father  and  mother  then,  and  how  far  he  was 
from  home;  that  moment  the  strength  of  two 
hundred  men  came  to  him.  With  one  blow  he 
swept  off  the  gruagach's  head  and  sent  it  twice 
as  far  into  the  sky  as  on  the  first  day;  the  body 
sank  through  the  earth.  Art  stood  at  the  place 
where  the  body  had  vanished. 

When  the  head  was  coming  down,  and  was 
near,  he  caught  it  and  held  it  firmly  by  the  hair; 
then,  cutting  a  withe,  he  thrust  it  through  the 
ears  and,  throwing  the  head  over  his  shoulder, 
started  for  the  castle  of  the  King  of  Greece;  but 
before  reaching  the  old  man's  cabin,  he  met 
three  men  and  with  them  a  headless  body. 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.          319 

"Where  are  ye  going?  "  asked  Art. 

"This  body  lost  its  head  in  the  eastern  world, 
and  we  are  travelling  the  earth  to  know  can  we 
find  a  head  to  match  it. " 

"Do  you  think  this  one  would  do?"  asked 
Art  of  one  of  the  men. 

"I  don't  know,"  said  he;  "it  is  only  for  us 
to  try." 

The  moment  the  head  was  put  on  the  body, 
men,  head,  and  body  went  down  through  the 

Art  went  to  the  old  man,  and  told  him  of  all 
that  had  happened. 

"You  were  very  foolish,"  said  the  old  man, 
"to  do  what  you  did.  Why  did  you  not  keep 
the  head  and  bring  it  to  me?  I  would  tell  you 
what  to  do."  The  old  man  cured  Art's  wounds, 
and  after  supper  he  asked,  "Will  you  fight  the 
gruagach  again  ?  " 

"I  will." 

"Well,  if  you  have  the  luck  to  knock  the  head 
off  him  a  third  time,  never  part  with  it  till  you 
come  to  me." 

Art  went  a  third  time  to  the  gruagach,  struck 
him  with  the  flat  of  his  sword,  and  knocked  ferns 
out  of  his  eyes. 

"Oh,  ho!  Art,  son  of  the  King  of  Leinster, 
you  are  not  satisfied  yet,  it  seems.  To-day  will 
tell  all.  You '11  fall  here." 

320  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

They  went  at  each  other  with  venom  ;  and  each 
sought  the  head  of  the  other  so  fiercely  that  each 
hair  on  him  would  hold  an  iron  apple.  The 
gruagach  had  the  upper  hand  till  evening.  Art 
thought  of  home  then,  of  the  young  princess, 
and  of  the  mean  opinion  that  she  had  of  him, 
and  gave  such  a  blow  that  the  gruagach 's  head 
vanished  in  the  sky.  The  body  went  through 
the  earth,  and  Art  stood  as  before  at  the  place 
where  it  sank  till  he  saw  the  head  coming;  he 
seized  it,  cut  two  withes,  passed  them  through 
the  ears,  threw  the  head  over  his  shoulder,  and 
went  toward  the  old  man's  cabin.  He  was  within 
one  mile  of  the  house,  when  he  saw,  flying  from 
the  southeast,  three  ravens,  and  each  bird  seemed 
the  size  of  a  horse.  At  that  time  a  terrible 
thirst  came  on  him;  he  put  the  gruagach's  head 
on  the  ground,  and  stooped  to  drink  from  a 
spring  near  the  wayside;  that  moment  one  of 
the  ravens  swept  down  and  carried  off  the  head. 

"I  am  in  a  worse  state  now  than  ever,"  said 
Art,  lamenting. 

He  went  to  the  cabin  of  the  old  man,  who 
received  him  well,  and  cured  him,  and  said,  "You 
may  go  home  now,  since  you  did  not  keep  the 
head  when  you  had  it;  or  you  may  go  into  a 
forest  where  there  is  a  boar,  and  that  boar  is  far 
stronger  and  fiercer  than  the  gruagach :  but  if 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach  321 

you  can  kill  the  boar,  you  will  win  yet,  if  you 
do  what  I  tell  you.  When  the  boar  is  dead,  open 
the  body  and  hide  in  it.  The  three  ravens  will 
come  after  awhile  to  eat ;  you  can  catch  one  of 
them,  and  hold  it  till  the  others  bring  the  head." 

Art  went  away  to  the  forest.  He  was  not  long 
in  it  when  the  boar  caught  the  scent  of  him,  and 
ran  at  him,  snapped  at  his  body,  and  took  pieces 
out  of  it.  Art  defended  himself  till  evening, 
and  was  more  losing  than  gaining,  when  he 
remembered  home  and  that  princess  who  thought 
so  little  of  his  valor.  He  got  the  strength  of 
four  hundred  men  then,  and  made  two  even 
halves  of  the  boar  When  Art  tried  to  draw  his 
sword,  it  was  broken  at  the  hilt;  and  he  let  three 
screeches  out  of  him  that  were  heard  all  over 
the  kingdom.  He  could  not  prepare  the  carcass, 
so  he  went  to  the  old  man  with  the  sword  hilt. 

"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,"  said 
the  old  man;  "and  you  deserve  them.  You  are 
the  best  man  I  have  seen  in  life." 

"I  do  not  deserve  the  welcomes,"  said  Art; 
"  't  is  badly  the  day  has  gone  with  me:  my  sword 
is  broken." 

"I  will  give  you  a  better  one,"  said  the  old 
man,  taking  him  to  a  room  where  there  was 
nothing  but  swords.  "  Here  are  swords  in 
plenty;  take  your  choice  of  them." 


322  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland, 

Art  tried  many,  but  broke  one  after  another. 
At  last  he  caught  an  old  rusty  blade,  and  shook 
it.  The  sword  screeched  so  fiercely  that  it  was 
heard  in  seven  kingdoms,  and  his  father  and 
mother  heard  it  in  Erin. 

"This  blade  will  do,"  said  Art 

"Come,  now,  and  we  '11  prepare  the  boar,"  said 
the  old  man. 

The  two  went  and  dressed  the  boar  in  the  way 
to  give  Art  room  within  the  body,  and  a  place  to 
seize  the  raven.  The  old  man  went  to  a  hilltop, 
at  a  distance,  and  sat  there  till  he  heard  the 
three  ravens  coming,  and  they  cawing  as  before. 
"Oh,  it  is  ye  that  are  coming !"  thought  he. 
The  birds  came  to  the  ground,  and  walked  about, 
till  at  last  one  of  them  began  to  peck  at  the  car- 
cass. Art  caught  that  one  quickly  by  the  neck ; 
the  bird  struggled  and  struggled. 

"You  might  as  well  stop,"  said  Art;  "you'll 
not  go  from  me.  This  fellow's  head,  or  the  head 
ye  took  yesterday,"  said  Art  to  the  other  two. 

"Kill  not  our  brother,"  cried  they;  "we'll 
bring  the  head  quickly." 

"  He  has  but  two  hours  to  live,  unless  ye  bring 
here  the  head  ye  took  from  me." 

The  ravens  were  not  gone  one  hour  when  the 
gruagach's  head  was  in  Art's  hands,  and  the 
raven  was  free. 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.  323 

"  Come  home  with  me  now,"  said  the  old  man. 
Art  went  with  him.  "Show  this  head  to  the 
princess,'-'  said  the  old  man;  "but  do  not  give  it 
to  her;  bring  it  back  here  to  me." 

Art  went  to  the  king's  castle,  and,  showing 
the  head  to  the  princess,  said,  "  Here  is  the  head 
which  you  wanted;  but  I  will  not  marry  you. " 
He  turned  away  then,  went  to  the  old  man,  and 
gave  him  the  head.  The  old  man  threw  the 
head  on  a  body  which  was  lying  in  the  cabin; 
the  head  and  the  body  became  one,  and  just  like 
the  old  man. 

"Now,  Art,  king's  son  from  Erin,  the  gruagach 
was  my  brother,  and  for  the  last  three  hundred 
years  he  was  under  the  enchantment  of  that  prin- 
cess, the  only  daughter  of  the  King  of  Greece. 
The  princess  is  old,  although  young  in  appear- 
ance; my  brother  would  have  killed  me  as  quickly 
as  he  would  you ;  and  he  was  to  be  enchanted 
till  you  should  come  and  cut  the  head  off  him, 
and  show  it  to  the  princess,  and  not  marry  her, 
and  I  should  do  as  I  have  done.  My  brother 
and  I  will  stay  here,  take  care  of  our  forests,  and 
be  friends  to  you.  Go  you  back  to  Erin  :  a  man 
can  find  a  good  wife  near  home,  and  need  not 
look  after  foreign  women." 

Art  went  to  Erin,  and  lived  with  his  father  and 
mother.  One  morning  he  saw  a  ship  coming"  in, 

324  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

and  only  one  man  on  board,  the  Red  Gruagach, 
and  he  having  a  golden  apple  on  the  end  of  a 
silver  spindle,  and  throwing  the  apple  up  in  the 
air  and  catching  it  on  the  spindle. 

The  Red  Gruagach  came  to  Art,  and  asked, 
"Will  you  play  a  game  with  me?  " 

"I  have  never  refused  to  play,"  said  Art;  "but 
I  have  no  dice." 

The  gruagach  took  out  dice;  they  played.  Art 
won.  "  What  is  your  wish  ?  "  asked  the  gruagach. 

"  Get  for  me  in  one  moment  the  finest  woman 
on  earth,  with  twelve  attendant  maidens  and 
thirteen  horses." 

The  Red  Gruagach  ran  to  his  ship,  and  brought 
the  woman  with  her  maidens;  the  horses  came 
bridled  and  saddled.  When  Art  saw  the  woman, 
he  fell  in  love,  took  her  by  the  hand,  and  went 
to  the  castle.  They  were  married  that  day.  The 
Red  Gruagach  would  not  sail  away;  he  stayed 
near  the  castle  and  watched.  Art's  young  wife 
knew  this,  and  would  not  let  her  husband  leave 
the  castle  without  her. 

Two  or  three  months  later  she  fell  ill,  and  sent 
for  the  old  king.  "You  must  guard  Art,  and 
keep  him  safe,"  said  she,  "till  I  recover." 

Next  morning  the  king  was  called  aside  for 
some  reason,  and  Art  went  out  of  the  castle  that 
moment.  At  the  gate  he  met  the  gruagach,  who 

A rt  and  Balor  Beimenach.  325 

asked    him    to    play.       They    played    with    the 
gruagadvs  dice,   and  Art  lost. 

"Give  your  sentence,"  said  he  to  the  gruagach. 

"You  will  hear  it  too  soon  for  your  comfort. 
You  are  to  bring  me  the  sword  of  light,  and  the 
story  of  the  man  who  has  it. " 

Art's  wife  saw  the  king  coming  back.  "  Where 
is  Art  ?  "  asked  she. 

"  Outside  at  the  gate.  " 

She  sprang  through  the  door,  though  sick,  but 
too  late. 

"  You  are  not  a  husband  for  me  now,  you  must 
go  from  me,"  said  she  to  Art.  "The  man  who 
has  the  sword  of  light  is  my  sister's  husband;  he 
has  the  strength  of  thousands  in  him,  and  can  run 
with  the  speed  of  wild  beasts.  You  did  not 
know  me,  did  not  know  that  I  was  not  that  grua- 
gach's  daughter;  you  did  not  ask  me  who  I  was. 
Now  you  are  in  trouble,  you  must  go.  Sit  on 
the  horse  that  I  rode,  and  that  the  gruagach  gave 
you,  take  the  bridle  in  your  right  hand,  and  let 
the  horse  go  where  he  pleases;  he  will  face  the 
ocean,  but  a  road  will  open  before  him,  and  he 
will  never  stop  till  he  comes  to  my  father's 
castle.  My  father  is  King  Under  the  Wave. 
The  horse  will  stop  at  steps  in  front  of  the 
castle;  you  will  dismount  then.  My  father  will 
ask  where  you  got  that  steed,  and  you  will 

326  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland, 

say  you  got  him  when  you  won  him  and  the 
daughter  of  King  Under  the  Wave  from  the  Red 
Gruagach. " 

Next  morning  Art  took  farewell  of  his  wife 
and  his  father  and  mother,  started,  and  never 
stopped  nor  dismounted  till  he  came  to  the  steps 
outside  the  castle-yard  where  horsemen  used  to 
mount  and  dismount.  He  came  down  then. 

"Where  did  you  get  that  horse?"  asked  King 
Under  the  Wave;  "and  where  is  the  rider  who 
left  my  castle  on  his  back  ?  " 

"  I  won  him  and  the  daughter  of  King  Under 
the  Wave  from  the  Red  Gruagach. " 

"Ah,  'tis  easily  known  to  me  that  it  was  the 
Foxy  Gruagach  who  stole  my  child.  Now,  who 
are  you,  and  where  are  you  going?  " 

"  I  am  Art,  son  of  the  King  of  Leinster,  in 

King  Under  the  Wave  gave  a  hundred  thousand 
welcomes  to  Art  then,  and  said,  "  You  are  the 
best  king's  son  that  has  ever  lived;  and  if  my 
daughter  was  to  go  from  me,  I  am  glad  that  it  is 
to  you  she  went.  It  is  for  the  fortune  that  you 
are  here,  I  suppose?" 

"  I  am  not  here  for  a  fortune ;  but  I  am  in  heavy 
trouble.  I  am  in  search  of  the  sword  of  light." 

"  If  you  are  going  for  that  sword,  I  fear  that 
you  will  not  be  a  son-in-law  of  mine  long.  It  is 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.  327 

the  husband  of  another  daughter  of  mine  who 
has  the  sword  of  light  now;  and  while  he  has  it, 
he  could  kill  the  whole  world.  But  I  like  you 
better,  and  will  send  servants  to  the  stable  to 
get  you  the  worst  horse  for  to-night;  you  will 
need  the  best  afterward.  Balor  Beimenach,  this 
son-in-law  of  mine,  will  grow  stronger  each  time 
you  go  to  his  castle.  One  of  my  men  will  ride 
with  you,  and  show  you  where  Balor  lives,  and 
show  you  the  window  of  the  room  where  he 
sleeps.  You  will  turn  your  horse's  back  to  the 
window,  and  call  out,  '  Are  you  asleep,  Balor 
Beimenach  ? '  He  will  reply,  and  call  out,  '  What 
do  you  want?  *  You  will  answer,  '  The  sword  of 
light  and  the  story  of  Balor  Beimenach. '  Put 
spurs  to  your  horse  that  instant,  and  ride  away, 
with  what  breath  the  horse  has.  I  will  have  the 
twelve  gates  of  this  castle  open  before  you,  to 
know  will  you  bring  the  life  with  you.  Balor  is 
bound  not  to  cross  a  gate  or  a  wall  of  this  castle 
without  my  request,  or  to  follow  any  man  through 
a  gate  or  over  a  wall  of  mine.  He  must  stop 

On  the  following  day,  Art  and  a  serving-man 
rode  away;  the  man  pointed  out  Balor's  castle, 
and  the  window  of  his  bedchamber.  In  the 
evening,  Art  rode  up  to  the  window,  and  shouted, 
"  Are  you  asleep,  Balor  Beimenach  ?  " 

328  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  Not  very  soundly.      What  do  you  want?  " 

<4  The  sword  of  light  and  the  story  of  Balor 
Beimenach. " 

"  Wait,  and  you  will  get  them !  " 

Art  put  spurs  to  his  horse,  and  shot  away. 
Balor  Beimenach  was  after  him  in  a  flash.  Art's 
horse  was  the  worst  in  the  stables  of  King 
Under  the  Wave,  though  better  than  the  best 
horse  in  another  kingdom.  Still  Balor  was  gain- 
ing on  him,  and  when  he  came  near  the  castle, 
he  had  not  time  to  reach  the  gate.  He  spurred 
over  the  wall;  but  if  he  did,  Balor  cut  his  horse 
in  two  behind  the  saddle,  and  Art  fell  in  over 
the  wall  with  the  front  half. 

Balor  was  raging;  he  went  to  his  castle,  but 
slept  not  a  wink, — walked  his  chamber  till 
morning  to  know  would  Art  come  again. 

Next  evening,  Art  rode  to  the  window  on  a 
better  horse,  and  called  out,  '''Balor  Beimenach, 
are  you  asleep?"  and  raced  away.  Balor  fol- 
lowed, and  followed  faster.  Art  could  not  reach 
the  gate  before  him,  so  he  spurred  his  horse  over 
the  wall.  Balor  cut  this  one  in  two  just  at  the 
saddle.  Art  tumbled  down  from  the  wall  with 
his  life. 

This  enraged  Balor  more  than  the  first  escape; 
he  slept  not  a  wink  that  night,  but  was  walking 
around  the  whole  castle  and  cursing  till  morning. 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.  329 

King  Under  the  Wave  gave  Art  the  best  horse 
in  his  stable,  for  the  third  night,  and  said,  "This 
is  your  last  chance  with  horses.  I  hope  you  will 
escape;  but  I  'm  greatly  in  dread  that  Balor  will 
catch  you.  Now  put  this  horse  to  full  speed  be- 
fore you  shout,  and  you  will  have  some  chance 
if  your  horse  runs  with  what  speed  there  is  in 

Art  obeyed  the  king.  But  Balor  killed  that 
horse  as  he  had  the  other  two,  and  came  nearer 
killing  Art;  for  he  cut  a  piece  of  the  saddle 
behind  him,  and  Art  came  very  near  falling  out- 
side the  wall;  but  he  fell  in,  and  escaped  with  his 

"Well,"  said  King  Under  the  Wave,  on  the 
fourth  day,  "no  horse  that  ever  lived  could 
escape  him  the  fourth  time.  Every  vein  in  his 
body  is  wide  open  from  thirst  for  blood;  he 
would  use  every  power  that  is  in  him  before  he 
would  let  you  escape.  But  here  is  where  your 
chance  is.  Balor  has  not  slept  for  three  nights; 
he  will  be  sound  asleep  this  time;  the  sword 
of  light  will  be  hanging  above  his  head  near 
his  grasp.  Do  you  slip  into  the  room,  and  walk 
without  noise;  if  you  can  touch  the  sword,  you 
will  have  all  Balor's  strength,  and  then  he  will 
give  you  the  story." 

Art  did  as  the  king  directed.     He  slipped  into 

33°  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  room,  saw  the  sword  of  light  hanging  just 
above  Balor's  head.  He  went  up  without  noise 
till  he  caught  the  hilt  of  the  sword;  and  that 
moment  it  let  out  a  screech  that  was  heard  through- 
out the  dominions  of  King  Under  the  Wave,  and 
through  all  Erin. 

Balor  woke,  and  was  very  weak  when  he  saw 
Art.  The  moment  Art  touched  the  hilt  of  the 
sword,  he  had  all  the  strength  that  Balor  had 
before.  The  screech  that  the  sword  gave  put 
Balor  in  such  fear  that  he  fell  to  the  floor,  struck 
his  face  against  the  bed-post,  and  got  a  great 
lump  on  his  forehead. 

"Be  quiet,"  said  Art;  "the  sword  is  mine,  and 
now  I  want  the  story." 

"  Who  are  you  ?  "  asked  Balor,  "  and  what  land 
are  you  from  ?  It  seems  that  you  are  a  friend  of 
my  father- in  law;  for  he  is  shielding  and  aiding 
you  these  four  nights." 

"I  am  a  friend  of  his,  and  also  his  son-in-law. 
I  wish  to  be  your  friend  as  well." 

"What  is  your  name?"  asked  Balor. 

"Art,  son  of  the  King  of  Leinster,  in  Erin." 

"  I  would  rather  you  had  the  -sword  than  any 
other  man  save  myself." 

Balor  rose,  and  went  to  his  wife,  and  said, 
"Come  with  me  to  your  father's  castle." 

King  Under  the  Wave  gave  a  great  feast,  and 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.  331 

when  the  feast  was  over  Balor  Beimenach  took 
Art  aside,  and  told  him  this  story :  "  I  was 
married  to  my  wife  but  a  short  time,  and  living 
in  that  castle  beyond,  when  I  wanted  to  go  to  a 
fair.  When  not  far  from  the  castle,  I  found  I 
had  left  my  whip  behind,  and  went  back  for  it. 
For  years  there  had  lived  in  my  castle  a  cripple. 
On  returning  I  found  that  my  wife  had  disap- 
peared with  this  cripple.  I  went  after  them  in 
a  rage.  When  I  reached  her,  she  struck  me  with 
a  rod  of  enchantment,  and  made  a  white  horse 
of  me.  She  gave  me  then  to  a  servant,  who  was 
to  take  grain  to  a  mill  with  me.  I  had  no  saddle 
on  my  back,  only  a  chain  to  cut  and  gall  me. 
Though  a  horse,  I  had  my  own  knowledge.  I 
wanted  freedom.  The  boy  who  drove  me  misused 
me,  and  beat  me.  I  broke  his  leg  with  a  kick, 
and  ran  away  among  wild  hills  to  pasture.  I 
had  the  best  grass,  and  lived  for  a  time  at  my 
ease;  but  my  wife  heard  of  me,  and  had  me 
brought  home.  She  struck  me  again  with  her 
rod  of  enchantment,  made  a  wolf  of  me.  I  ran 
away  to  rocky  places.  The  wolves  of  the  moun- 
tains bit  and  tore  me;  but  at  last  they  grew 
friendly.  I  took  twelve  of  these  with  me,  and 
we  killed  my  wife's  cattle,  day  and  night.  She 
collected  hunters  and  hounds,  who  killed  six  of 
the  wolves.  The  other  six  and  I  were  more 

332  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

harmful  than  ever.  A  second  party  killed  the 
other  six,  and  I  was  alone.  They  surrounded 
me;  there  was  no  escape  then.  I  saw  among  the 
hunters  my  own  father-in  law.  I  ran  to  King 
Under  the  Wave,  fell  down  before  him,  looked 
into  his  face;  he  pitied  and  saved  me,  took  me 
home  with  him. 

"My  wife  was  at  her  father's  that  day,  and 
knew  rne.  She  begged  the  king  to  kill  me;  but 
he  would  not;  he  kept  me.  I  served  him  well, 
and  he  loved  me.  I  slept  in  the  castle.  One 
night  a  great  serpent  came  down  the  chimney, 
and  began  to  crawl  toward  the  king's  little  son, 
sleeping  there  in  the  cradle.  I  saw  the  serpent, 
and  killed  it.  My  wife  was  at  her  father's  castle 
that  night,  and  rose  first  on  the  following  morn- 
ing. She  saw  the  child  sleeping,  and  the  serpent 
lying  dead.  She  took  the  child  to  her  own 
chamber,  rubbed  me  with  blood  from  the  ser- 
pent, and  told  the  king  that  I  had  eaten  the 
child.  '  I  begged  you  long  ago  to  kill  that  wolf,' 
said  she  to  her  father;  '  if  you  had  followed  my 
advice  you  would  not  be  without  your  son  now.' 
She  turned  and  went  out. 

"  Right  there  on  a  table  was  the  rod  of  enchant- 
ment, which  my  wife  had  forgotten.  I  sprang 
toward  the  king;  he  was  startled,  and  struck  me 
with  the  rod,  without  knowing  its  power.  I 

Art  and  Balor  Beimenach.  333 

became  a  man,  was  myself  again,  and  told  the 
king  my  whole  story.  We  went  to  my  wife's 
chamber;  there  the  king  found  his  son  living 
and  well.  King  Under  the  Wave  gave  com- 
mand then  to  bring  seven  loads  of  turf  with 
seven  barrels  of  pitch,  make  one  pile  of  them, 
and  burn  his  daughter  and  the  cripple  on  the 
top  of  the  pile. 

"'  Grant  me  one  favor,'  cried  I.  '  I  will,'  said 
the  king.  '  Spare  your  daughter;  she  may  live 
better  now/  *  I  will,'  said  the  king;  '  but  they 
will  burn  the  cripple.' 

"  That  is  my  story  for  you.  Go  now,  and  tell 
it  to  the  Red  Gruagach;  keep  the  sword  in  your 
hand  while  telling  the  story;  and  when  you  have 
finished,  throw  the  sword  into  the  air,  and  say, 
'  Go  to  Balor  Beimenach !  '  It  will  come  to  me. 
When  you  need  the  sword,  send  me  word;  I  will 
throw  it  to  you;  and  we  '11  have  the  strength  of 
thousands  between  us." 

Art  gave  a  blessing  to  all,  and  mounted  his 
wife's  steed;  the  road  through  the  sea  opened 
before  him.  The  wife  received  him  with  a  hun- 
dred thousand  welcomes.  After  that  he  went  to 
the  Red  Gruagach,  and,  holding  the  sword  of 
light  in  his  hand,  told  the  story.  When  the 
story  was  finished,  he  threw  the  sword  in  the  air, 
and  said,  "Go  to  Balor  Beimenach." 

334  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Why  did  you  not  give  me  the  sword?  "  cried 
the  Red  Gruagach,  in  a  rage. 

"  If  I  was  bound  to  bring  the  sword,  I  was  not 
bound  to  give  it  to  you,"  answered  Art.  "And 
now  leave  this  place  forever." 

Art  lived  happily  with  his  wife,  and  succeeded 
his  father. 


THERE  was  a  very  rich  man  once  who  lived 
near  Brandon  Bay,  and  his  name  was 

This  Breogan  had  a  deal  of  fine  land,  and  was 
well  liked  by  all  people  who  knew  him.  One 
morning  as  he  was  walking  on  the  strand  for 
himself,  he  found,  above  the  highest  tide,  a  little 
colt,  barely  the  size  of  a  goat;  and  a  very  nice 
colt  he  was. 

"Oh,  what  a  beautiful  little  beast!"  said  Breo- 
gan; "he  doesn't  belong  to  any  one  in  this  coun- 
try. He  is  not  mine;  but  still  and  all  I  '11  take 
him.  If  an  owner  comes  the  way,  sure  he  can 
prove  his  claim,  if  he  is  able." 

Breogan  carried  the  colt  to  the  stable,  and  fed 
him  as  well  as  any  beast  that  he  had.  The  colt 
was  thriving  well;  and  when  twelve  months  were 
passed,  it  was  a  pleasure  to  look  at  him.  Breo- 
gan put  him  in  a  stable  by  himself  after  that,  and 
kept  him  three  years.  At  the  end  of  the  third 

336  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

year,  it  isn't  a  little  colt  he  was,  but  a  grand, 
fiery  steed.  Breogan  invited  all  his  friends  and 
neighbors  to  a  feast  and  a  great  merrymaking. 
"This  will  be  a  good  time,"  thought  he,  "to  find 
a  man  to  ride  the  strange  colt." 

There  was  a  splendid  race-course  on  the 
seashore.  The  appointed  day  came,  and  all  the 
people  were  assembled.  The  horse  was  brought 
out,  bridled  and  saddled,  and  led  to  the  strand. 
The  place  was  so  crowded  that  a  pin  falling 
from  the  sky  would  not  fall  on  any  place  but  the 
head  of  some  person  old  or  young,  some  man, 
woman,  or  child  that  was  there  at  the  festival. 

For  three  days  the  women  of  the  village  were 
cooking  food  for  all  that  would  come;  there  was 
enough  ready,  and  to  spare.  Breogan  strove  to 
come  at  a  man  who  would  ride  the  horse;  but 
not  a  man  could  he  find.  The  horse  was  so  fiery 
that  all  were  in  dread  of  him. 

Not  to  spoil  sport  for  the  people,  Breogan  made 
up  his  mind  to  ride  himself.  As  soon  as  the 
man  mounted,  and  was  firm  in  the  saddle,  the 
horse  stood  on  his  hind-legs,  rose  with  a  leap  in 
the  air,  and  away  with  him  faster  than  any  wind, 
first  over  the  land,  and  then  over  the  sea.  The 
horse  never  stopped  till  he  came  down  on  his 
fore-feet  in  Breasil,  which  is  a  part  of  Tir  nan 
Og  (the  Land  of  the  Young). 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     337 

Breogan  found  himself  now  in  the  finest  coun- 
try man  could  set  eyes  on.  He  rode  forward, 
looking  on  all  sides  with  delight  and  pleasure, 
till  out  before  him  he  saw  a  grand  castle,  and  a 
beautiful  gate  in  front  of  it,  and  the  gate  partly 

"  Well,"  thought  he,  "  I'll  go  in  here  for  a  bit, 
to  know  are  there  people  living  inside."  With 
that  he  tied  the  bridle  to  one  of  the  bars  of  the 
gate,  and  left  the  horse,  thinking  to  come  back 
in  a  short  time.  He  went  to  the  door  of  the 
castle,  and  knocked  on  it.  A  woman  came  and 
opened  the  door  to  him. 

"  Oh,  then,  a  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to 
you,  Breogan  from  Brandon,"  said  she. 

He  thanked  her,  and  was  greatly  surprised 
when  he  heard  her  calling  him  by  name.  She 
brought  him  then  to  a  parlor;  and,  though  he  had 
fine  rooms  in  his  own  house,  he  hardly  knew  at 
first  how  to  sit  in  this  parlor,  it  was  that  grand 
and  splendid.  He  wasn't  long  sitting,  when  who 
should  come  in  but  a  young  woman,  a  beauty; 
the  like  of  her  he  had  never  seen  before  in  his 
life.  She  was  first  in  every  way,  in  good  looks 
as  well  as  in  manners.  She  sat  down  at  his  side, 
and  welcomed  him. 

Breogan  remained  in  the  castle  a  few  hours, 
eating,  drinking,  talking,  and  enjoying  himself. 


338  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

At  long  last  he  thought,  "I  must  be  going;" 
and  then  he  said  so. 

The  first  woman  laughed.  "Well,  now,  my 
good  friend,"  said  she,  "of  all  the  men  that  ever 
came  to  this  place,  —  and  it 's  many  a  man  that 
came  here  in  my  time,  — there  never  was  a  worse 
man  to  care  for  his  horse  than  what  you  are. 
Your  poor  beast  is  tied  to  a  bar  of  the  gate  out- 
side since  you  came,  and  you  have  never  as  much 
as  thought  that  he  was  dry  or  hungry ;  and  if  I 
had  not  thought  of  him,  it 's  in  a  bad  state  he  'd 
be  now.  How  long  do  you  think  you  are  in  this 
castle?  " 

"Oh,  then,  I  am  about  seven  hours  in  it." 

"You  are  in  this  country  just  seven  years," 
said  the  woman.  "The  beauty  and  comfort  of 
this  Land  of  the  Young  is  so  great  that  the  life 
of  twelve  months  seems  the  length  of  one  hour 
in  another  place." 

"  If  I  am  here  that  long,  I  must  be  going  this 
minute,"  said  Breogan. 

"Well,"  said  the  woman,  "if  you  are  going,  I 
must  ask  you  one  question.  There  will  be  a 
child  in  this  castle;  and  as  you  are  the  father, 
't  is  you  that  should  name  it.  Now  what  will 
the  name  be?  " 

"  If  't  is  a  son,  you  '11  call  him  Shawn,  the  son 
of  Breogan,  from  Brandon  in  Erin.  You  '11  rear 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     339 

him  for  seven  years.  At  the  end  of  that  time 
give  him  your  blessing  and  the  means  of  making 
a  journey  to  Erin.  Tell  him  who  I  am ;  and  if 
he  is  anything  of  a  hero,  he  '11  not  fail  to  make 
me  out." 

Breogan  left  his  blessing  with  the  women, 
went  to  the  gate,  and  found  his  horse  standing 
there,  tied  in  the  same  way  that  he  left  him. 
He  untied  the  beast,  mounted,  and  away  through 
the  air  with  him,  leaving  Breasil  behind,  and 
never  stopped  nor  halted  till  he  came  down  about 
a  mile  from  his  own  house,  near  Brandon,  exactly 
seven  years  from  the  day  that  he  left  it.  Seeing 
on  the  strand  a  great  number  of  people,  he  won- 
dered why  they  were  in  it,  and  what  brought 
them  together.  A  large,  fine-looking  man  was 
passing  the  way,  and  Breogan  called  out  to  him: 
"What  are  these  people  all  doing  that  I  see  on 
the  strand?"  asked  he. 

"You  must  be  a  stranger,"  said  the  man,  "not 
to  know  what  these  people  are  here  for." 

"I  am  no  stranger,"  said  Breogan;  "but  I 
went  out  of  the  country  a  few  years  before  this, 
and  while  I  was  gone  there  were  changes." 

"  If  a  man  leaves  his  own  country  for  a  short 
time  itself,"  said  the  other,  "he  will  find  things 
changed  when  he  comes  again  to  it.  I  will  tell 
you  why  these  people  are  here.  We  had  in  this 

340  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

place  a  fine  master,  and  it 's  good  and  kind  he  was 
to  us.  He  went  out  to  the  strand  one  day,  walking, 
and  found  a  little  colt  above  the  high  tide.  He 
took  the  colt  home,  reared  and  fed  him  three 
years.  Then  this  man  gathered  the  people  to  give 
them  a  feast,  and  to  know  could  he  find  some  one 
to  ride  the  horse.  When  no  one  would  venture, 
he  mounted  himself;  and  all  saw  how  the  horse 
rose  in  the  air,  made  a  leap  over  the  harbor,  and 
then  away  out  of  sight.  We  think  that  he  fell, 
and  was  drowned  in  the  sea;  for  neither  Breogan 
nor  the  horse  was  seen  ever  after.  We  are  sorry 
for  the  man,  because  he  was  kind  to  us ;  but  't  is 
equal  what  became  of  the  horse.  After  waiting 
seven  years,  Breogan's  wife  is  to  be  married  this 
evening  to  some  great  man  from  the  North.  We 
don't  know  what  kind  is  he.  He  may  destroy  us, 
or  drive  us  out  of  our  houses." 

Breogan  thanked  the  man  for  his  words,  and 
hurried  on  toward  his  own  house.  The  servants 
saw  him  coming,  knew  him,  and  cried,  "  Here 
comes  the  master ! "  and  there  was  a  great  stir 
up  and  down  in  the  house.  Next  minute  the 
wife  heard  the  news;  and  out  she  ran  to  meet  her 
husband.  Any  man  would  think  she  was  glad  to 
see  Breogan.  "  Why  are  all  the  people  here  to- 
day ?  "  asked  he  of  the  wife. 

"And  was  not  it  this  day  seven  years  that  you 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     341 

put  the  country  behind  you,  wherever  you  went? 
You  left  dinner  here  ready;  and  the  dinner  is  in 
the  same  state  it  was  the  day  you  went  away 
from  me.  I  thought  it  better  to  send  for  the 
people  again,  and  eat  the  dinner  in  memory  of 
you  that  prepared  it." 

The  husband  said  nothing.  The  people  ate 
the  dinner;  and  every  man,  woman,  and  child 
went  home  satisfied. 

At  the  end  of  another  seven  years,  Breogan 
made  a  great  dinner  again.  All  was  ready;  a 
great  crowd  of  people  were  present.  The  day 
being  fine,  you  could  see  far  in  every  direction. 

"Look,  now,"  said  Breogan,  to  one  of  his  men 
who  had  very  good  eyesight.  "  Look  out  toward 
the  water,  to  know  can  you  see  any  one  coming. 
Seven  years  ago  to-day,  I  came  home  from 
Breasil,  in  the  Land  of  the  Young;  and  my  son, 
if  I  have  one,  is  to  be  here  to-day.  He  ought  to 
be  coming  by  this  time." 

The  man  looked  out  as  well  as  he  could.  "  I 
see  a  boat  with  one  mast  coming  toward  us," 
said  he;  "and  it 's  sailing  faster  than  any  boat  I 
have  ever  set  eyes  on.  In  the  boat  I  can  see 
only  one  young  man;  and  very  young  he  is 

"Oh,  that  is  he,"  said  Breogan. 

The  boat  came  in  at  full  sail;  and  it  wasn't 

342  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

long  till  the  youth  was  standing  before  his 
father.  "Who  are  you?  "  asked  Breogan. 

"  My  name  is  Shawn  MacBreogan. " 

"  If  that  is  your  name,  sit  down  here  at  dinner; 
for  you  are  my  son." 

When  the  feast  was  over,  the  people  went 
home.  When  Breogan' s  wife  found  out  who  the 
boy  was,  she  wouldn't  give  the  breadth  of  a 
ha'penny  piece  of  his  body  for  a  fortune,  she  was 
that  fond  of  him. 

Things  went  on  well  till  one  day  when  Breogan 
and  his  son  were  out  hunting.  The  day  being 
warm,  they  sat  down  to  rest;  and  the  son  said  to 
the  father,  "  Since  I  came  to  you  in  Erin,  you 
seem  vexed  in  yourself.  I  have  not  asked  what 
trouble  is  on  you,  or  is  there  anything  amiss 
with  you." 

"All  things  are  well  with  me  but  one  thing," 
said  Breogan.  "There  is  some  understanding 
between  my  wife  and  a  man  in  the  north  of 
Erin.  I  'm  in  dread  of  my  life;  for  while  I  was 
in  Breasil  she  saw  this  man,  and  the  day  I  came 
home  they  were  going  to  be  married.  Since 
then  I  have  not  slept  soundly  in  bed ;  for  mes- 
sages are  passing  between  them." 

"Very  well,  father,  I  '11  put  an  end  to  that 
soon,"  said  Shawn.  He  rose  on  the  following 
morning,  caught  his  hurley  in  his  right  hand,  and 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     343 

his  ball  in  the  left.  He  threw  up  the  ball,  then 
struck  it  with  the  hurley,  and  was  driving  it 
that  way  before  him  till  he  reached  the  north  of 
Erin,  and  never  let  his  ball  touch  the  ground 
even  one  time.  He  inquired  for  his  father's 
opponent.  When  he  found  out  the  house,  he 
knocked  at  the  door.  "Is  your  master  inside?" 
asked  he. 

"He  is,"  said  the  servant. 

"Go,"  said  Shawn,  "and  tell  him  that  I  want 
him,  and  not  to  delay,  as  I  must  be  at  dinner  in 
Brandon  this  evening." 

The  master  of  the  house  came  out,  and,  seeing 
a  boy  there  before  him,  thought  it  strange  that 
he  should  speak  rudely  to  a  man  like  himself. 
"If  you  don't  beg  my  pardon  this  minute,  I'll 
take  the  head  off  you,"  said  the  man. 

"Well,"  said  Shawn,  "I  am  not  here  to  beg 
pardon  of  you  nor  of  any  man ;  but  I  came  to 
have  satisfaction  for  the  trouble  you  put  on  my 
father,  and  I  far  away  from  him." 

"Who  is  your  father?" 

"  My  father  is  Breogan  of  Brandon. " 

Out  the  man  went ;  and  the  two  stood  on  a  fine 
green  plain,  and  began  to  fight  with  swords,  cut- 
ting each  other's  flesh.  They  were  not  long 
at  the  swords  when  Shawn  said,  "  It  is  getting 
late,  and  I  must  be  at  home  before  dinner  to- 

344  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

day,  as  I  promised;  there  is  no  use  in  delay- 
ing." With  that  he  rose  out  of  his  body,  and 
gave  the  man  a  blow  between  the  head  and 
shoulders  that  put  the  head  a  mile  from  the 
body.  Shawn  caught  the  head  before  it  touched 
earth;  then,  grasping  it  by  the  hair,  he  left 
the  body  where  it  fell,  took  his  hurley  in  his 
right  hand,  threw  his  ball  in  the  air,  and  drove 
it  far  to  the  south  with  the  hurley;  and  he  drove 
it  across  Erin  in  that  way,  the  ball  never  touch- 
ing ground  from  the  far  north  of  Erin  to  Brandon. 
Holding  the  ball  and  hurley  in  his  hand,  he  went 
into  the  house,  and  laid  the  head  at  his  father's 

"Now,  my  dear  father,"  said  he,  "here  is  the 
head  of  your  enemy;  he  '11  trouble  you  no  more 
from  this  out." 

When  Breogan's  wife  saw  the  head,  she  was 
cut  to  the  heart  and  troubled ;  though  she  would 
not  let  any  man  know  it.  One  day  when  the 
father  and  son  came  home  from  killing  ducks, 
she  was  groaning,  and  said  she  was  ready  to 

"  Is  there  any  cure  for  you  here  or  there  in  the 
world  ?  "  asked  Shawn. 

"  There  is  no  getting  the  cure  that  would  heal 
me;  there  is  no  cure  but  three  apples  from  the 
white  orchard  in  the  White  Nation." 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     345 

"Well,"  said  the  boy,  "I  promise  you  not  to 
eat  the  third  meal  at  the  one  table,  nor  sleep  the 
second  night  in  the  one  bed,  till  I  get  three 
apples  from  the  White  Nation." 

The  father  was  very  angry  when  they  came  out 
of  the  bed-room.  "Sure,"  said  he,  "it  would  be 
enough  for  you  to  risk  your  life  for  your  own 
mother. " 

"Well,  I  must  go  now,"  said  Shawn;  "the 
promise  is  given;  I'll  not  break  my  word."  So 
away  with  him  on  the  following  morning;  and 
on  that  day's  journey  he  came  to  a  glen,  and  in 
it  a  house.  In  the  house  there  was  no  living 
creature  but  a  white  mare  with  nine  eyes. 

"  A  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,  Shawn 
MacBreogan  from  Brandon.  You  mus.t  be  tired 
and  hungry  after  the  day's  journey,"  cried  the 
mare.  "  Go  in  now  to  the  next  room,  and  take 
supper,  and  strengthen  yourself." 

He  went  to  the  next  room,  and  inside  in  it  was 
a  table,  and  on  the  table  was  everything  that  the 
best  king  could  wish  for.  He  ate,  drank,  and 
went  then  and  gave  a  hundred  thousand  thanks 
for  the  supper.  He  stood  near  the  fire  for  a 
while;  then  the  mare  said,  "Come  here,  and  lie 
under  my  head ;  wonder  at  nothing  you  see,  and 
let  no  word  out  of  you. " 

He  did  as  the  mare  said.     About   dusk  three 

346  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

seals  came  in,  and  went  to  the  supper-room. 
They  threw  off  their  sealskins,  and  became  three 
as  fine  young  men  as  one  could  look  at. 

"  I  wish  Shawn  MacBreogan  from  Brandon 
were  here  to-night.  I  'd  be  glad  to  see  him,  and 
give  him  a  present,  and  have  his  good  company," 
said  one  of  the  three. 

"I  'd  be  glad  to  see  him,  too,"  said  the  second; 
"and  I  'd  give  him  a  present." 

"So  would  I,"  said  the  third. 

"Go  to  them  now,"  said  the  mare;  "enjoy 
their  company.  In  the  morning  you  '11  ask  for 
the  presents." 

He  went  out  among  them. 

"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,  Shawn 
MacBreogan/'  cried  the  young  men;  "and  'tis 
glad  we  are  to  see  you." 

They  drank  wine  then,  sang  songs,  and  told 
tales,  and  never  slept  a  wink  all  the  night.  Be- 
fore sunrise  they  went  as  seals ;  and  when  going 
Shawn  said,  "  I  hope  you  will  not  forget  the 
presents  you  promised  last  evening." 

"We  will  not,"  said  the  eldest.  "Here  is  a 
cloak  for  you.  While  it  is  on  you,  you  '11  be  the 
finest  man  in  the  world  to  look  at." 

"Here  is  a  ball,"  said  the  second.  "If  you 
throw  it  in  the  air,  and  wish  for  anything  you 
like,  you  will  have  it  before  the  ball  comes  to  the 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     347 

The  third  gave  a  whistle:  "When  you  blow 
this,"  said  he,  "every  enemy  that  hears  it  will 
lie  down  asleep,  and  be  powerless;  and,  besides, 
you  're  to  have  the  white  mare  to  ride." 

He  took  the  gifts. 

"Give  me  a  feed  of  grain  before  we  start,"  said 
the  mare.  "  No  man  has  sat  on  me  without  being 
turned  into  froth  and  blown  away,  or  else  thrown 
and  killed.  This  will  not  happen  to  you;  still 
I  must  throw  you  three  times:  but  I  '11  take  you 
to  a  soft  place  where  you  '11  not  be  killed." 

Shawn  mounted  her  then,  and  she  tossed  him. 
She  threw  him  very  far  the  first  time.  He  was 
badly  shocked,  but  recovered.  The  second  and 
third  times  it  was  easier.  The  fourth  time  he 
mounted  for  the  journey.  It  was  not  long  till 
he  came  to  the  seashore.  On  the  third  day  he 
was  in  sight  of  land  in  the  White  Nation.  The 
mare  ran  over  the  water  and  swiftly,  without 
trouble;  no  bird  ever  went  with  such  speed. 

When  Shawn  came  near  the  castle,  he  stopped 
before  a  house  at  the  edge  of  the  town,  and  asked 
a  lodging  of  the  owner,  an  old  man. 

"I  '11  give  you  that,"  said  the  old  man,  "and 
welcome,  and  a  place  for  your  horse."  After 
supper  Shawn  told  his  errand. 

"I  pity  you,"  said  the  man.  "I  am  in  dread 
you  '11  lose  your  life;  but  I  '11  do  what  I  can  for 

348  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

you.  No  man  has  ever  been  able  to  get  one  of 
those  apples;  and  if  a  stranger  is  caught  making 
up  to  them,  the  king  takes  his  head  without 
mercy  or  pardon.  There  is  no  kind  of  savage 
beast  in  the  world  but  is  guarding  the  apples; 
and  there  is  not  a  minute  in  the  night  or  the  day 
when  some  of  the  beasts  are  not  watching." 

"Do  you  know  what  virtue  is  in  the  apples?" 
asked  Shawn. 

"I  do  well,"  said  the  old  man;  "and  it's  I 
that  would  like  to  have  one  of  them.  If  a  man 
is  sick,  and  eats  even  one  bite  of  an  apple,  he  '11 
be  well;  if  old,  he'll  grow  young  again,  and 
never  know  grief  from  that  out;  he  will  always 
be  happy  and  healthy.  I  '11  give  you  a  pigeon 
to  let  loose  in  the  orchard;  she  will  go  flying 
from  one  tree  to  another  till  she  goes  to  the  last 
one.  All  the  beasts  will  follow  her;  and  while 
they  are  hunting  the  pigeon,  you  will  take  what 
you  can  of  the  apples  :  but  I  hope  you  will  not 
think  it  too  much  to  give  one  to  me." 

"  Never  fear,"  said  Shawn,  "  if  I  get  one  apple, 
you  '11  have  the  half  of  it;  if  two,  you  '11  have  one 
of  them." 

The  old  man  was  glad.  Next  morning  at  day- 
break Shawn  took  the  pigeon,  mounted  the  mare, 
and  away  with  him  then  to  the  orchard.  When 
the  pigeon  flew  in,  and  was  going  from  tree  to 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.      349 

tree  with  a  flutter,  the  beasts  started  after  her. 
Shawn  sprang  in  on  the  back  of  the  mare,  left  her, 
and  went  to  climb  the  first  tree  that  he  met  for 
the  apples;  but  the  king's  men  were  at  him  before 
he  could  touch  a  single  apple,  or  go  back  to  the 
mare.  They  caught  him,  and  took  him  to  the 
king.  The  mare  sprang  over  the  wall,  and  ran 
to  the  house  of  the  old  man.  Shawn  told  the 
king  his  whole  story,  said  that  his  father  was 
Breogan  of  Brandon,  and  his  mother  the  Prin- 
cess of  Breasil  in  the  Land  of  the  Young. 

"Oh/'  said  the  king,  "you  are  the  hero  that 
I  am  waiting  for  this  long  time.  A  fine  part  of 
my  kingdom  is  that  island  beyond;  but  't  is  taken 
by  a  giant  who  holds  it  with  an  army  of  hire- 
lings. Clear  that  island  of  the  giant  and  his 
men,  bring  me  his  head,  and  you  '11  have  the 

Shawn  went  to  the  old  man,  then  to  the  mare, 
and  told  her. 

"You  can  do  that  without  trouble,"  said  she; 
"you  have  the  power  needed  to  do  it." 

Shawn  took  his  breakfast,  then  sat  on  the  mare, 
and  rode  toward  the  island.  Just  before  the  mare 
touched  the  land,  Shawn  sounded  the  whistle; 
and  every  one  who  heard  it  was  asleep  the  next 
instant.  Shawn  took  his  sword  then,  swept  the 
head  off  the  giant,  and  before  evening  there 

350  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

wasn't  a  man  alive  on  the  island  except  Shawn 
himself.  He  tied  the  giant's  head  to  the  saddle- 
bow, mounted  the  mare,  and  was  ready  to  start, 
when  she  spoke  to  him :  "  Be  careful  not  to  look 
back  toward  the  island  till  you  come  down  from 
my  back."  With  that  she  swept  on,  and  soon 
they  were  nearing  the  castle.  While  crossing 
the  yard,  Shawn  thought,  "  I  have  the  island 
cleared ;  the  head  is  safe  on  me ;  and  the  apples 
are  mine."  With  that  he  forgot  the  mare's 
words,  and  turned  to  look  back  at  the  island;  but 
as  he  did,  he  fell  from  the  saddle,  and  where 
should  he  fall  but  down  on  a  dust-heap.  A  son 
of  the  comb  woman,  a  youth  who  fed  dogs  and 
small  animals,  was  lying  there  at  the  time,  and 
he  sickly  and  full  of  sores.  Shawn's  cloak 
slipped  from  his  shoulders,  and  fell  on  this  dirty, 
foul  fellow;  that  moment  he  sprang  up  the  finest- 
looking  man  in  the  kingdom.  He  fastened  the 
cloak  on  his  shoulders,  mounted  the  white  mare, 
and  rode  to  the  castle.  The  king  was  that  glad 
when  he  looked  at  the  head  of  the  giant  that  he 
did  n't  know  where  to  put  the  counterfeit  hero 
who  brought  it. 

"  How  did  you  clear  the  island  ?  "  asked  the 
king;  "and  was  it  a  hard  task  to  take  the  head 
off  the  giant?" 

"Oh,   then,"  said  the  dog-feeder,   "there  was 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     35 1 

never  such  a  battle  in  the  world  as  the  battle 
to-day  on  that  island  between  myself  and  the 
giant  with  his  forces;  and  'tis  well  I  earned 
what  will  come  to  me." 

"You'll  get  good  pay,"  said  the  king;  "I 
promised  you  apples  from  my  white  orchard;  but 
I  '11  give  you  more,  I  '11  give  you  my  youngest 
daughter  in  marriage,  and  that  island  for  her 
portion.  My  daughter  will  not  be  of  age  to 
marry  for  a  year  and  a  day.  Till  that  time  is 
out,  you  '11  live  with  me  here  in  the  castle." 

Believe  me,  the  dog-feeder  was  a  great  man  in 
his  own  mind  that  evening. 

There  was  one  woman  in  the  yard  who  saw  the 
deception,  and  that  was  the  henwife.  She  knew 
well  what  the  dog -feeder  was,  and  't  is  often  she 
said,  "He  's  the  greatest  liar  on  earth,  and  kind 
mother  for  him."  She  drew  Shawn  into  her  own 
house,  and  he  sick  and  full  of  sores,  just  like  the 
dog-feeder,  not  a  man  in  the  world  would  have 
known  him.  She  nursed  and  tended  Shawn. 
On  the  sixth  day  he  was  able  to  speak;  but  he 
lay  in  great  weakness,  and  covered  with  sores. 

"  How  am  I  to  be  cured  ?  "  asked  he  of  the 

"I  know,"  answered  she;  "I  spoke  to  a  wise 
woman  to-day,  and  got  the  right  cure  for  you. " 
With  that  the  henwife  went  down  to  a  spring 

352  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

that  belonged  to  the  king's  youngest  daughter, 
and  pulled  up  nine  rushes  growing  near  it. 
Three  of  these  she  threw  away,  and  kept  six  of 
them.  She  cut  the  white  from  the  green  parts, 
crushed  them  in  water,  gave  Shawn  some  of  the 
water  to  drink,  and  rubbed  the  rest  on  his  body, 
A  week  was  not  gone,  when  he  was  as  sound  and 
well  as  ever. 

Shawn  heard  now  the  whole  story  of  the  dog- 
feeder's  lies  and  prosperity.  He  took  service 
himself  in  the  castle;  and  a  few  days  after  that 
the  king  gave  a  hunt,  and  invited  all  the  guests 
in  the  castle  to  go  with  him.  Shawn  had  to  go 
as  a  basket-boy,  and  carry  provisions  like  any 
servant.  Toward  evening,  when  the  company 
were  on  a  wild  moor  twenty  miles  from  the 
castle,  a  thick  mist  fell,  and  all  were  afraid  that 
their  lives  would  be  gone  from  them. 

"I  can  take  you  to  a  castle,"  said  Shawn. 

"Take  us,"  said  the  king. 

"I  will  if  you  will  give  me  your  daughter  to 

"She  is  promised  to  another,"  said  the  king. 

"I  have  the  best  right  to  her,"  said  Shawn. 
"  It  was  I  cleared  the  island." 

"  I  don't  believe  you,"  said  the  king. 

"We'll  be  lost,  every  man  of  us,"  said  the 
chief  hunter;  "give  him  the  promise,  he  may  be 
dead  before  the  day  of  the  wedding." 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     353 

The  king  gave  his  promise.  The  basket-boy 
stepped  behind  a  great  rock,  threw  up  the  ball, 
and  wished  for  the  finest  castle  on  earth.  Before 
the  ball  touched  the  ground  the  king,  the  guests, 
and  attendants  were  in  a  castle  far  finer  than  any 
they  had  looked  on  in  daylight  or  sesn  in  a 
dream.  The  best  food  and  drink  of  all  kinds 
were  in  it,  shining  chambers  and  beds  of  silk 
and  gold.  When  all  had  eaten  and  drunk  their 
fill,  they  fell  asleep  to  sweet  music,  and  slept 
soundly  till  morning.  At  daybreak  each  man 
woke  up,  and  found  himself  lying  on  the  wild 
moor,  a  tuft  of  rushes  under  his  head,  and  the 
gray  sky  above  him.  Glad  to  see  light,  they 
rose  and  went  home. 

Now  the  henwife  told  the  king's  daughter  the 
story  of  Shawn,  who  had  cleared  out  the  island, 
and  the  comb-woman's  son,  the  deceiver.  When 
the  year  was  ended,  and  the  day  came  for  the 
marriage,  the  king's  daughter  said  she  would 
marry  no  man  but  the  man  who  would  ride  the 
white  mare  with  nine  eyes  (the  mare  could  either 
kill  or  make  froth  of  a  man).  The  comb-woman's 
son  was  the  first  man  to  mount;  but  the  cloak  fell 
from  him,  and  he  vanished  in  froth  blown  away  by 
the  wind,  and  no  one  saw  sight  of  him  from  that 
day  to  this.  Sixteen  king's  sons  tried  to  ride 
the  white  mare,  and  were  killed  every  man  of 


354  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

them ;  but  their  bodies  were  found.  Shawn,  who 
had  taken  the  cloak,  sat  on  the  mare,  and  rode 
three  times  past  the  castle.  At  the  door  the 
mare  knelt  for  him  to  come  down. 

The  king's  daughter  would  have  jumped 
through  her  window,  and  killed  herself,  if  her 
maids  had  not  held  her.  She  rushed  down  the 
stairs,  kissed  Shawn,  and  embraced  him.  The 
wedding  began  then.  It  lasted  for  a  day  and  a 
year,  and  the  last  was  the  best  day  of  all. 

When  the  wedding  was  over,  Shawn  remem- 
bered the  mare,  and  went  to  the  stable.  She  had 
not  been  fed,  and  a  white  skin  was  all  that  was 
left  of  her.  When  Shawn  came  to  the  mare's 
place,  three  young  men  and  two  women  were 
playing  chess  in  it. 

"  Oh,  I  forgot  the  mare  from  the  first  day  of 
the  wedding  till  this  moment,"  said  Shawn;  and 
he  began  to  cry. 

"  Why  are  you  crying  ?  "  asked  the  elder  of  the 
two  women. 

He  told  the  reason. 

"You  needn't  cry,"  said  the  woman;  "  I  can 
revive  her."  With  that  she  took  the  skin,  put 
it  on  herself;  and  that  minute  she  was  the  white 
mare.  "Would  you  rather  see  me  a  white  mare 
as  I  am  now,  or  the  woman  that  I  was  a  minute 
ago?  " 

"The  woman,"  said  Shawn. 

Shawn  MacBreogan  and  the  King.     355 

She  took  off  the  skin,  and  was  a  woman  again. 
She  told  him  then  how  the  king,  her  father,  made 
three  seals  of  her  brothers  and  a  white  mare  of 
herself,  to  be  in  those  forms  till  a  hero  should 
come  who  could  clear  out  the  island.  "You 
cleared  the  island,"  said  she;  "and  we  are  all 
free  again." 

The  king  gave  the  island  to  his  son-in-law,  and 
as  many  apples  from  the  orchard  as  he  wished. 
The  first  thing  that  Shawn  did  was  to  take  an 
apple  to  the  old  man  who  gave  him  lodgings 
when  he  came  to  the  White  Nation.  At  the 
first  bite  he  swallowed,  the  old  man  was  twenty- 
one  years  of  age,  young  and  hearty,  and  so  happy 
that  it  would  do  any  man  good  to  have  one  look 
at  him. 

Shawn  and  his  young  wife  lived  another  day 
and  a  year  with  her  father,  and  then  they  went 
to  visit  his  father  in  Brandon.  From  pretending 
to  be  sick,  Breogan's  wife  became  sick  in  earnest, 
and  died.  Breogan  himself  was  now  old  and 

"The  least  I  can  do,"  thought  Shawn,  "is  to 
give  him  an  apple."  He  gave  him  the  apple. 
Breogan  ate  it,  was  twenty-one  years  of  age ;  and 
if  ever  a  man  was  glad  in  Erin,  't  was  he  was. 

Shawn  left  the  father  young  and  happy  at 
Brandon,  and  went  back  himself  with  his  wife  to 
the  island. 


upon  a  time  there  was  a  poor  cotter 
in  Erin,  and  he  had  three  sons.  Whether 
it  was  well  or  ill  that  he  reared  them,  he  reared 
them,  and  then  died.  When  their  father  was 
dead  and  buried,  the  three  sons  lived  with  their 
mother  for<a  day  and  a  year;  and  at  the  end  of 
that  time  the  eldest  brother  said,  "  I  will  go  to 
seek  my  fortune  in  the  world." 

He  took  his  mother's  blessing  with  him,  and 
went  away  on  the  following  morning. 

The  two  sons  and  the  mother  lived  on  together 
for  another  day  and  a  year,  when  the  second  son 
said,  §|  will  go  out  to  seek  my  fortune." 

He  went  away  like  the  first  brother. 

The  mother  and  the  youngest  son  lived  on 
together  for  a  day  and  a  year,  and  then  the 
mother  died.  When  she  was  buried,  the  youngest 
of  the  three  brothers,  whose  name  was  Arthur, 
went  out  in  the  world  to  seek  his  fortune.  He 


travelled,  and  was  walking  always  for  a  day--d.nd 
a  year  without  finding  a  master,  till  on  the  after- 

Cotters  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.   357 

noon  of  the  last  day  of  the  year  he  took  service 
with  a  hill. 

On  the  last  day  of  Arthur's  service  with  the 
hill,  the  Half  Slim  Champion  came  in  the  after- 
noon, and  asked  would  he  play  a  game  of  cards, 
^jj'  If  you  win,"  said  the  champion,  "you  will 
have  a  castle  with  lands  and  cattle  of  all  kinds; 
.if  you  lose,  you  will  do  me  a  service." 

"I  will  play,"  answered  Arthur. 

With  that  they  sat  down  to  play ;  and  Arthur 
won.  Now,  Arthur  had  lands  and  a  castle,  cattle 
of  all  kinds,  and  wealth  in  abundance. 

The  Half  Slim  Champion  went  his  way;  and 
Arthur  lived  for  a  day  and  a  year  on  his  lands. 
On  the  last  day  of  the  year,  the  champion  came 
in  the  afternoon,  and  with  him  was  the  most 
beautiful  lady  that  ma«n  could  set  eyes  on.  "  Will 
you  play  a  second  game?"  asked  the  champion. 
"  If  you  lose,  you  will  do  me  a  service ;  if  you  win, 
I  give  you  this  lady  as  wife." 

"I  will  play  with  you,"  said  Arthur. 

They  played,  and  Arthur  won. 

Arthur  lived  with  his  wife  in  the  castle  for  a 
day  and  a  year;  and  on  the  last  afternoon,  the 
champion  came  the  way  leading  a  hound. 

They  played  the  third  time,  and  Arthur  won 
the  hound.  The  champion  went  his  way;  and 
again  Arthur  lived  for  a  day  and  a  year  with  his 

358  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

wife  in  the  castle  in  ease,  in  plenty,  and  in  great 

On  the  afternoon  of  the  last  day,  the  champion 
came  the  fourth  time.  Arthur's  wife  saw  him 
at  a  distance,  and  said  to  her  husband,  "  My 
advice  is  to  play  no  more  with  that  champion. 
Remain  as  you  are,  and  keep  out  of  harm's 

But  Arthur  would  not  listen  to  the  wife,  nor  be 
said  by  her.  He  went  out  to  play  with  the  cham- 
pion, and  lost. 

"I  put  you  under  bonds,"  said  the  champion, 
"not  to  sleep  two  nights  in  the  same  bed,  nor 
eat  two  meals  off  the  same  table ;  but  to  be  walk- 
ing through  the  world,  and  searching  always  till 
you  find  the  birth  that  has  never  been  born,  and 
that  never  will  be." 

The  champion  turned,  walked  away,  and  disap- 
peared. Arthur  went  home  in  grief;  and  when 
he  sat  down  the  chair  that  was  under  him  broke 
into  pieces. 

"I  told  you,"  said  the  wife,  "not  to  play  with 
him.  What  has  he  put  on  you  ?  " 

"To  be  walking  and  searching,  ever  and 
always,  through  the  world  till  I  find  the  birth 
that  has  never  been  born,  and  never  will  be. " 

"Take  the  hound  with  you,"  said  the  wife, 
"and  go  first  to  the  castle  of  the  son  of  the  King 

Cotter  s  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.   359 

of  Lochlin.  Take  service  with  him;  you  may 
learn  something  there." 

Away  went  Arthur  next  morning,  and  the 
hound  with  him.  They  were  long  on  the  road, 
lodging  one  time  at  a  house,  and  another  time 
where  the  night  found  them,  till  at  last  a  great 
castle  was  in  sight.  When  the  hound  saw  the 
castle,  he  grew  so  wild  with  delight  that  he 
broke  his  chain,  and  rushed  away.  But  if  he  did, 
Arthur  followed;  and  when  the  hound  sprang 
into  the  castle,  Arthur  was  at  his  side. 

"It  was  lucky  for  you,"  cried  the  son  of  the 
King  of  Lochlin,  "to  come  in  with  the  hound. 
Without  that  you  'd  have  been  done  for.  Who 
are  you,  and  where  are  you  going?  " 

"  I  am  a  man  in  search  of  a  master." 

"I  am  seeking  a  man,"  said  the  king's  son. 
"Will  you  take  service  with  me?" 

"I  will,"  answered  Arthur. 

He  hired  for  a  day  and  a  year,  and  wages 
according  to  service. 

Arthur  went  to  work  on  the  following  morning, 
and  his  first  task  was  to  bring  fagots  from  the 
forest.  When  he  went  to  the  forest,  he  found 
half  of  it  green,  and  the  other  half  dry.  Noth- 
ing was  growing  in  the  dry  part;  all  was 
withered  and  dead.  Arthur  collected  dry  fagots, 
and  brought  them  to  the  castle.  In  the  evening 

360  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

he  spoke  to  the  king's  son,  and  this  is  what  he 
asked  of  him,  "  Why  is  half  of  your  forest  green, 
and  the  other  half  withered  and  dry?  " 

"A  day  and  seven  years  ago,"  said  the  king's 
son,  "a  terrible  serpent  came  the  way,  and  took 
half  of  my  forest  for  herself.  In  that  part  she 
is  living  till  this  time,  —  that  is  the  green  part. 
She  knocked  the  life  out  of  my  half, —  that  is  the 
dry  part." 

"Why  do  you  not  take  wood  from  the  green 
part?  "  asked  Arthur. 

"  Neither  you  nor  all  who  ever  came  before  you 
could  do  that,"  said  the  son  of  the  king.  Next 
morning  Arthur  went  out  for  fagots  the  second 
time.  He  stopped  before  the  largest  green  tree 
to  be  found  in  the  forest,  and  was  cutting  away 
at  it.  The  moment  the  serpent  saw  this,  she 
came  out,  and  called,  "Why  are  you  cutting  my 
timber?  " 

"  I  am  cutting  it  because  I  am  sorry  to  see  you 
as  you  are,"  said  Arthur,  "without  a  roof  over 
you  or  a  shelter  of  any  kind.  I  wish  to  build  a 
house  to  protect  you." 

When  the  serpent  heard  this,  she  was  glad 
and  thankful  to  Arthur.  When  he  had  two 
wedges  in  the  tree,  and  it  partly  cut,  he  said, 
"  If  yourself  would  only  come  over  now,  and  put 
your  tail  in  the  cut  and  help  me,  we  could  throw 
down  this  tree." 

Cotter  s  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.  36 1 

She  went  to  him  then,  and  put  her  tail  in  the 
cut.  Arthur  knocked  out  the  wedges,  and  left 
her  tail  in  the  tree.  She  begged  and  cried, 
screaming,  "  The  tree  is  killing  me;  the  tree  is 
killing  me!  Let  me  free!  Let  me  out  of  this!  " 

"It  wasn't  to  let  you  out  that  I  put  you  in," 
replied  Arthur. 

What  he  did  then  was  to  jump  behind  her,  and 
vex  her  until  he  got  her  in  the  way  that,  out  of 
rage  and  great  strength,  she  tore  up  the  tree 
with  its  roots,  and  seven  acres  and  seven  ridges 
of  land  with  it.  Arthur  was  vexing  the  serpent 
until  she  rushed  into  the  dry  part  of  the  forest, 
and  was  fastened  among  the  trees;  then  he  cut 
down  dry  trees,  and  piled  them  on  the  serpent 
and  on  the  green  tree  till  they  were  the  size  of 
a  hill.  In  the  evening  he  drove  her  to  the  castle 
before  him,  with  all  the  hill  of  dry  wood  on  her. 
When  a  maid  was  going  from  the  castle  for  water, 
and  saw  this,  she  ran  in  with  the  story  that  Arthur 
was  coming  home  with  the  serpent,  and  all  the 
dry  wood  of  the  forest  above  on  her  back. 

When  the  people  inside  heard  this,  they  were 
in  dread  that  she  'd  kill  them  all,  and  they 
rushed  out  to  run  away.  There  was  one  girl  in 
the  castle  who  heard  the  tidings  too  late,  or  was 
slow  in  preparing,  for  when  she  was  ready,  the 
serpent  was  at  the  door. 

362  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Where  are  the  people  of  the  castle?"  asked 

"All  made  away,  and  took  their  lives  with 
them,"  said  she. 

"Run  now  and  call  them  back,"  said  Arthur. 

"I  'm  in  dread  to  go  out.  I  will  not  go  unless 
you  take  the  head  off  the  serpent." 

Arthur  swept  the  head  off  the  serpent.  The 
girl  ran  after  the  people,  and  brought  them  back. 
Arthur  piled  all  the  wood  near  the  castle.  The 
king's  son  was  delighted  to  have  so  much  fuel, 
and  was  so  glad  that  he  took  Arthur  to  his  bed 
to  sleep  that  night  with  him. 

"It's  a  wonder,"  said  Arthur,  "such  a  good 
king's  son  as  you  to  be  without  a  wife." 

"I  had  a  wife,"  said  the  king's  son;  "but  the 
giant  with  five  heads,  five  necks,  and  five  lumps 
on  his  heads,  came  and  took  her  to  the  Eastern 

"  Why  did  you  not  take  her  from  him  ?  " 

"  Neither  I,  nor  you,  nor  all  that  ever  came 
before  us  could  do  that." 

On  the  following  morning  Arthur  rose,  washed 
his  face,  rubbed  his  eyes,  and  said  to  the  king's 
son,  "  I  am  going  to  the  Eastern  World  to  bring 
back  your  wife."  Away  he  went;  but  the  king's 
son  would  not  believe  that  any  man  living  could 
bring  back  the  wife. 

Cotters  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.   363 

When  Arthur  came  to  the  castle  of  the  giant 
in  the  Eastern  World,  the  giant  himself  was  not 
in  it,  only  the  wife  of  the  King  of  Lochlin's  son, 
who  said,  "There  is  no  use  in  your  delaying  in 
this  place;  you'll  be  killed,  if  you  stay  till  the 
giant  comes  home." 

"I'll  never  leave  this  castle  till  I  see  the 
giant;  and  when  I  go  home  you  '11  go  with  me." 

It  wasn't  long  till  Arthur  heard  the  great 
voice  of  the  giant.  As  he  came  toward  the 
castle  the  bottom  of  the  forest  was  rising  to 
the  top,  and  the  top  of  the  forest  was  going  to 
the  bottom.  In  front  of  the  giant  went  a  shaggy 
goat,  and  another  behind  him.  In  his  hand  was 
a  club  with  a  yellow  flea  on  the  end  of  it;  on 
one  shoulder  he  carried  a  dead  hag,  and  on  the 
other  a  great  hog  of  a  wild  boar. 

"  Fu  fa  my  beard  !  "  cried  the  giant.  "  I  catch 
the  smell  of  a  lying  rogue  from  Erin,  too  big  for 
one  bite  and  too  small  for  two.  I  don't  know 
whether  to  blow  him  away  through  the  air,  or  put 
him  under  my  feet." 

"You  filthy  giant,  'tis  not  to  give  satisfaction 
to  you,  or  the  like  of  you,  that  I  came,  but  to 
knock  satisfaction  out  of  you." 

"I  want  only  time  till  morning  to  give  you 
what  you  came  for,"  said  the  giant. 

It   was    day-break    when    Arthur   was  up   and 

364  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

struck  the  pole  of  combat.  There  wasn't  a  calf, 
kid,  lamb,  foal,  or  child  awaiting  birth  that 
did  n't  turn  five  times  to  the  right  and  five 
times  to  the  left  from  the  strength  of  the 

"What  do  you  want?"  asked  the  answering 

"  Seven  hundred  against  me,  and  then  seven 
hundred  to  every  hundred  of  these,  till  I  find  the 
man  who  can  put  me  down." 

"  You  fool  of  the  world,  it  would  be  better  for 
you  to  hide  under  a  leaf  than  to  stand  before  the 

The  giant  came  out   to   Arthur ;  and  the  two 
went  at  each  other  like  two  lions  of  the  desert 
or  two  bulls  of  great   growth,  and   fought   wit 
rage.     They  made  the  softest  places  hardest,  an 
the  hardest  places   softest;  they  brought   spring 
wells  up  through  dry  slate  rocks,  and  great  tuft 
of  green  rushes  through  their  own  shoe-strings.  ) 
The  wounds  that  they  made  on  each  other  were 
so  great  that  little  birds  flew  through  them,  and 
men  of   small   growth    could    crawl    through   on 
their  hands  and  knees. 

It  was  dark  and  the  end  of  the  day,  when 
Arthur  cried  out,  "  It  is  a  bad  thing  for  me, 
filthy  giant,  to  have  a  fine  day  spent  on  you!  " 

With  that  he  gave  him  one  blow  on  the  five 

Cotter  s  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.   365 

necks,  and  sent  the  five  heads  flying  through  the 
air.  After  a  while  the  heads  were  coming  down, 
croning  (singing  the  coronach),  Arthur  caught 
them,  and  struck  the  giant's  breast  with  them; 
the  body  and  heads  fell  dead  on  the  ground. 
The  wife  of  .the  son  of  the  King  of  Lochlin  ran 
out  now,  smothered  Arthur  with  kisses,  washed 
him  with  tears,  and  dried  him  with  a  cloak  of 
fine  silk;  she  put  her  hand  under  his  arm,  and 
they  went  to  the  castle  of  the  giant.  The  two 
had  good  entertainment,  plenty  to  eat,  and  no 
bit  dry.  They  made  three  parts  of  that  night,  — 
one  part  for  conversation,  one  for  tales,  and  one 
for  soft  sleep. 

When  they  rose  in  the  morning,  the  woman 
said,  "It  is  a  poor  thing  for  us  to  go  and  leave 
here  behind  all  the  gold  the  giant  had." 

"Let  us  not  be  in  so  great  a  hurry;  we  111  find 
a  cure  for  that,"  said  Arthur. 

They  went  out,  found  three  ships  belonging  to 
the  giant,  and  filled  them  with  gold.  When  the 
three  ships  were  laden,  Arthur  took  hawsers  and 
lashed  the  first  ship  to  the  second,  the  second  to 
the  third,  raised  the  anchors,  and  sailed  away, 
When  he  was  in  sight  of  Lochlin,  a  messenger 
was  walking  toward  the  water,  and  saw  the  ships 
coming.  He  ran  to  the  castle,  and  cried  to  the 
king's  son,  "The  servant-boy  is  coming,  and 
bringing  your  wife  with  him." 

366  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"That  I  will  never  believe,"  said  the  king's 
son,  "till  she  puts  her  hand  in  my  hand." 

The  king's  son  had  kept  his  head  by  the  fire, 
without  rising  from  the  hearth,  all  the  time  that 
Arthur  was  away.  When  the  wife  came  in,  anc 
put  her  hand  on  his  hand,  he  rose  up,  and  shook 
seven  tons  of  ashes  from  himself,  with  sever 
barrels  of  rust. 

There  was  great  gladness  in  the  castle;  and  th< 
king's  son  was  ready  to  do  anything  for  Arthur 
he  was  so  thankful  to  him.      Arthur's  time  was 
out  on  the  following  day.     The  king's  son  spoke 
to  him,  and  asked,  "What  am  I  to  give  you  now 
for  the  service  ?     What  wages  do  you  expect  ?  " 

"  No  more  than  is  just.  I  hope  that  you  will 
find  out  for  me  who  is  the  birth  that  has  never 
been  born,  and  that  never  will  be." 

"That  is  no  great  thing  for  me  to  discover," 
said  the  king's  son. 

There  was  a  hollow  place  in  the  wall  of  the  castle 
near  the  fireplace,  and  in  that  hollow  the  king's 
son  kept  his  own  father,  and  gave  him  food.  He 
opened  a  secret  door,  and  brought  out  the  old  king. 

"Now  tell  me,  father,"  said  he,  "who  js  it 
that  has  never  been  born,  and  never  will  be.i  " 

"That 's  a  thing  of  which  no  tidings  have  been 
given,  or  ever  will  be,"  replied  the  king. 

When  the  father  wasn't  giving  him  the  answer 

Cotters  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.   367 

he  wanted,   the  son  put  the  old  king,  standing, 
on  a  red-hot  iron  griddle. 

"It's  fried  and  roasted  you'll  be  till  you 
answer  my  question,  and  tell  who  is  the  birth 
that  has  never  been  born,  and  that  never  will 
be,"  said  the  son. 

The  old  king  stood  on  the  griddle  till  the 
marrow  was  melting  in  the  bones  of  his  feeft 
They  took  him  off  then ;  and  the  son  asked  Mn 
a  second  time. 

"That's  a  question  not  to  be  answered  by  me,' 
said  the  king. 

He  was  put,  standing,  again  on  the  red-hot 
griddle,  and  kept  on  it,  till  the  marrow  was  melt- 
ing in  the  bones  to  his  knees. 

"Release  me  out  of  this  now,"  cried  the  king; 
"and  I  will  tell  where  that  birth  is." 

They  took  him  from  the  griddle.  He  sat  down 
then,  and  told  this  story  to  his  son,  in  presence 
of  Arthur:  — 

"  I  was  walking  out  beyond  there  in  the  garden 
one  day,  when  I  came  on  a  beautiful  rod,  which 
I  cut  and  took  with  me.  I  discovered  soon  after 
that  that  was  a  rod  of  enchantment,  and  never 
let  it  go  from  me.  When  I  went  walking  or 
riding  in  the  day,  I  took  the  rod  with  me.  In 
the  night,  I  slept  with  it  under  my  pillow.  Mis- 
fortune came  on  me  at  last ;  for  I  left  the  rod  in 

368  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

my  chamber  one  time  that  I  started  away  to  go 
fowling.  After  I  had  gone  a  good  piece  of  road, 
I  remembered  the  rod,  and  hurried  home  then  to 
get  it. 

"When  I  came  to  the  castle  I  found  a  dark 
tall  man  inside  in  my  chamber  with  the  queen. 
They  saw  me,  and  I  turned  from  the  door  to  let 
them  slip  out,  and  think  that  I  had  not  seen  them. 
I  went  to  the  door  not  long  after,  and  opened 
it.  Your  mother  was  standing  inside,  not  two 
feet  from  the  threshold.  She  struck  me  right  there 
with  the  rod,  and  made  a  wild  deer  of  me. 

"  When  she  had  me  a  deer,  she  let  out  a  great 
pack  of  hounds;  for  every  hand's  breadth  of  my 
body  there  was  a  savage  dog  to  tear  me,  and  hunt 
me  to  death.  The  hounds  chased  me,  and  fol- 
lowed till  I  ran  to  the  far  away  mountains. 
There  I  escaped.  So  great  was  my  swiftness 
and  strength  that  I  brought  my  life  with  me. 

"After  that  I  went  back  to  injure  the  queen; 
and  I  did  every  harm  in  my  power  to  her  grain, 
and  her  crops,  and  her  gardens. 

"  One  day  she  sprang  up  from  behind  a  stone 
wall,  when  I  thought  no  one  near,  struck  me 
with  the  rod,  and  made  a  wolf  of  me.  She  called 
a  hunt  then.  Hounds  and  men  chased  me  fiercely 
till  evening.  At  nightfall  I  escaped  to  an  island 
in  a  lake  where  no  man  was  living.  Next  day 

Cotter  s  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion,    369 

I    went    around    each    perch    of    that    island.      I 
searched  every  place,  and  found  only  a  she-wolf. 

"  But  the  wolf  was  a  woman  enchanted  years 
before,  — -  enchanted  when  she  was  within  one 
week  of  her  time  to  give  birth  to  a  hero.  There 
she  was;  but  the  hero  could  not  be  born  unless 
she  received  her  own  form  again. 

"There  was  little  to  eat  on  the  island  for  the 
she-wolf,  and  still  less  after  I  came.  What  I 
suffered  from  hunger  in  that  place  no  man  can 
know;  for  I  had  a  wolf's  craving,  and  only  scant 
food  to  stop  it.  One  day  above  another,  I  was 
lying  half  asleep,  half  famished,  and  dreaming. 
I  thought  that  a  kid  was  there  near  me.  I 
snapped  at  it,  and  awoke.  I  had  torn  open  the 
side  of  the  she-wolf.  Before  me  was  an  infant, 
which  grew  to  the  size  of  a  man  in  one  moment. 
That  man  is  the  birth  that  has  never  been  born, 
and  never  will  be;  that  man  is  the  Half  Slim 

"When  I  snapped  at  the  she-wolf,  I  bit  her 
so  deeply  that  I  took  a  piece  from  behind  the  ear 
of  the  child,  and  killed  the  mother.  When  you 
go  back  to  the  Half  Slim  Champion,  and  he  asks 
who  is  the  man  that  has  never  been  born,  and 
never  will  be,  you  will  say:  Try  behind  your 
own  ear,  you  will  find  the  mark  on  him. 

"  The  infant,  grown  to  a  man  before  my  eyes, 

370  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

attacked  me,  to  kill  me.  I  ran,  and  he  followed. 
He  hunted  me  through  every  part  of  that  island. 
At  last  I  had  no  escape  but  to  swim  to  the 
country-side  opposite.  I  sprang  to  the  water, 
though  I  had  not  the  strength  of  the  time  when 
I  went  from  the  hunters;  but  on  the  way  were 
two  rocks.  On  these  I  drew  breath,  and  then 
came  to  land.  I  could  not  have  swum  five 
perches  farther. 

"  I  lived  after  that  in  close  hiding,  and  met 
with  no  danger  till  I  was  going  through  a  small 
lane  one  evening,  and,  looking  behind,  saw  the 
hero  whose  mother  I  killed  on  the  island.  I 
started ;  he  rushed  along  after  me.  I  came  to 
a  turn,  and  was  thinking  to  go  over  the  wall,  and 
escape  by  the  fields,  when  I  met  my  false  queen. 
She  struck  me  with  the  rod  in  her  fright,  and  I 
got  back  my  own  form  again.  I  snatched  the 
rod  quickly,  and  struck  her.  '  You  '11  be  a  wolf 
now,'  said  I;  '  you  '11  have  your  own  share  of 
misfortune. '  With  that  she  sprang  over  the  wall, 
a  gray  wolf,  and  ran  off  through  the  pastures. 

"The  dark  tall  man  was  a  little  behind  and 
saw  everything.  He  turned  to  escape;  but  I 
struck  him  with  the  rod,  and  made  a  sheep  of 
the  traitor,  in  hopes  that  the  gray  wolf  might 
eat  him.  The  hero  saw  all,  saw  the  wolf  that 
I  was,  turned  into  a  man.  I  entered  the  castle; 
he  followed  me.  I  took  you  at  once  with  me, 

Cotters  Son  and  Half  Slim  Champion.   371 

showed  you  this  hollow  place  near  the  chimney,  r 
and  hid  in  it.  The  hero  searched  every  foot  of 
the  castle,  but  found  no  trace  of  me.  He  had 
no  knowledge  of  who  I  was;  and  when  you  denied 
that  I  was  here,  he  waited  one  day,  a  second  day, 
and  then  went  away,  taking  your  sister  and  the 
best  hound  at  the  castle. 

"That  hero  of  the  island,  whose  mother  I 
killed,  is  the  Half  Slim  Champion.  There  is 
nothing  he  wishes  so  much  as  my  death;  and 
when  he  hears  who  it  was  that  has  never  been 
born,  and  never  will  be,  he  will  know  that  I  am 
alive  yet,  and  he  '11  kill  half  the  people  in 
Lochlin,  unless  he  kills  me  first  of  all,  or  this 
champion  kills  him." 

When  Arthur  heard  this  story,  he  went  away 
quickly  from  the  castle  of  the  King  of  Lochlin, 
and  never  stopped  till  he  came  to  the  hill  where 
he  played  cards  the  first  time.  The  Half  Slim 
Champion  was  before  him  there,  standing. 

"  Have  you  found  the  answer,  and  can  you  tell 
who  has  never  been  born,  and  never  will  be?  " 

"Try  behind  your  own  ear,  and  you  '11  find  the 
mark  on  him." 

"That's  true,"  said  the  champion,  "and  the 
man  who  killed  my  mother  is  alive  yet;  but  if 
he  is,  he  will  not  be  so  long,  and  you  '11  not  leave 
this  till  you  and  I  have  a  trial." 

372  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

The  two  went  at  each  other  then;  and  it  was 
early  enough  in  the  day  when  Arthur  had  the 
head  off  the  champion.  He  put  a  gad  through 
his  ears,  took  the  head  on  his  shoulder,  hurried 
back  to  the  King  of  Lochlin,  and  threw  it  on 
the  floor,  saying,  "  Here  is  the  head  of  the  Half 
Slim  Champion." 

When  the  old  king  heard  these  words  in  his 
place  of  concealment,  he  burst  out  the  wall,  and 
went  through  the  end  of  the  castle,  so  great  was 
his  joy.  As  soon  as  he  was  in  the  open  air, 
free  from  confinement  and  dread,  he  became  the 
best  man  in  Lochlin. 

They  made  three  parts  of  that  night,  which 
they  passed  in  great  enjoyment,  and  discovered 
that  Arthur's  wife  was  the  sister  of  the  son  of 
the  King  of  Lochlin,  the  lady  who  was  carried 
away  by  the  Half  Slim  Champion,  and  lost  in  a 
game  of  cards. 

When  the  old  king  got  the  head  of  the  Half 
Slim  Champion,  he  gave  the  three  ships  full  of 
gold  to  Arthur,  and  would  have  given  six  ships, 
if  he  had  had  them,  he  was  so  glad  to  be  free. 
Arthur  took  farewell  of  the  old  king  and  his  son, 
and  sailed  away  with  his  three  ships  full  of  gold 
to  Erin,  where  his  wife  was. 

BLAIMAN,     SON     OF     APPLE,     IN     THE 

INHERE  was  a  king  in  Erin  long  ago  who  had 
two  sons  and  one  daughter.  On  a  day 
of  days,  the  daughter  walked  into  her  father's 
garden,  in  which  she  saw  an  apple-tree  with 
only  one  apple  on  it;  she  took  the  apple,  and 
ate  it. 

There  was  an  old  druid  in  the  castle,  who  saw 
the  king's  daughter  going  out,  and  met  her 
coming  in. 

"Well,"  said  he,  "you  had  the  look  of  a  maiden 
when  you  were  going  out,  and  you  have  the  look 
of  a  married  woman  coming  in." 

Those  who  were  near  heard  the  saying  of  the 
druid,  and  it  was  going  the  rounds  till  it  came 
to  the  king.  The  king  went  at  once  to  the  druid, 
and  asked,  "  What  is  this  that  you  say  about  my 
daughter  ? " 

"I  say  nothing,"  answered  the  druid. 

"You  must  tell  me  your  words,"  said  the  king, 
"and  prove  them,  or  lose  your  head." 

374  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  Oh,  as  you  are  going  that  far  you  must  give 
me  time,  and  if  a  few  months  do  not  prove  my 
words  true,  you  may  cut  the  head  off  me." 

The  princess  was  then  taken  to  the  top  of  the 
king's  castle,  where  no  one  could  see  her  but  her 
maid.  There  she  remained  till  she  gave  birth  to 
a  son  with  a  golden  spot  on  his  poll,  and  a  silver 
spot  on  his  forehead.  He  was  so  beautiful  that 
if  sunshine  and  breeze  ever  rested  on  a  child, 
they  woujd  rest  on  him  ;  and  what  of  him  did  not 
grow  in  the  day  grew  at  night.  He  grew  so  quickly 
that  soon  he  was  as  large  as  the  king's  sons,  his 
uncles,  and  rose  out  to  be  a  great  champion. 

One  day  when  the  two  sons  of  the  king  were 
hunting,  there  was  snow  on  the  ground,  and  they 
killed  a  hare.  Some  of  the  hare's  blood  fell  on 
the  snow,  and  they  said  that  that  was  a  beautiful 
meeting  of  colors.  They  were  wondering  could 
any  woman  be  found  with  such  colors  on  her  face, 
white  shining  through  the  red.  When  they  came 
home  in  the  evening,  they  asked  the  old  druid 
could  a  woman  of  that  sort  be  found.  He 
answered  that  if  she  could  itself,  little  good 
would  it  do  them;  they  could  find  wives  good 
enough  for  them  near  home.  They  said  that  that 
was  no  matter,  but  to  tell  them  where  was  the 
woman  they  had  asked  for. 

"That  woman,"  said  the  druid,  "is  the  daugh- 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  375 

ter  of  the  King  of  the  kingdom  of  the  White 
Strand.  Hundreds  of  champions  have  lost  their 
heads  for  her;  and  if  you  go,  you  will  lose  your 
heads  too." 

The  elder  son  said,  "  We  do  not  mind  that;  we 
will  go." 

The  brothers  had  no  vessel  to  take  them  to  the 
kingdom  of  the  White  Strand ;  and  the  elder  said 
he  would  build  one.  He  took  tools  one  morning, 
and  started  for  the  seashore.  When  just  outside 
the  castle,  he  heard  a  voice,  asking,  "  Where  are 
you  going,  king's  son?  " 

"I  am  going  to  make  a  turkey-pen,"  answered 
the  young  man.  "May  you  prosper  in  justice  and 
truth,"  said  the  voice. 

The  king's  son  began  to  build  the  ship  that 
day;  and  in  the  evening  what  had  he  built  but 
a  turkey-pen  ?  When  he  came  home,  they  asked 
what  had  he  made. 

"Nothing;  I  made  only  a  turkey-pen." 

"Oh,"  said  the  second  son,  "you  are  a  fool. 
I  knew  that  you  could  do  nothing  good. " 

On  the  following  morning,  the  second  son 
started  for  the  seashore ;  and  the  voice  spoke  to 
him,  and  asked,  "Where  are  you  going,  king's 

"To  build  a  pig-sty,"  answered  he.  "  May  you 
prosper  in  justice  and  truth,"  said  the  voice. 

376  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

He  worked  all  day;  and  in  the  evening  it  was 
a  pig-sty  that  he  had.  He  came  home;  and  now 
the  brothers  were  doleful  because  they  had  not  a 
ship  in  which  to  sail  to  the.  princess. 

The  following  morning,  the  king's  grandson 
said,  "Give  me  the  tools,  to  see  can  I  myself  do 

"  What  can  you  do,  you  fool  ?  "  asked  the 

"That  matters  not,"  replied  he.  He  left  the 
castle;  and  at  the  place  where  the  voice  spoke 
to  his  uncles,  it  spoke  to  him  also,  and  asked, 
"What  are  you  going  to  do,  Blaiman,  son  of 
Apple  ?  "  (He  did  not  know  his  origin  till  then. ) 

"  I  am  going  to  build  a  ship,"  said  Blaiman. 

"That  it  may  thrive  with  you  in  justice  and 
truth,"  said  the  voice. 

He  went  off  to  the  edge  of  a  wood  that  was 
growing  at  the  seashore,  gave  one  blow  to  a  tree, 
and  it  went  to  its  own  proper  place  in  the  vessel. 
In  the  evening  Blaiman  had  the  nicest  ship  that 
ever  moved  on  the  deep  sea.  When  finished,, 
the  ship  was  at  the  edge  of  the  shore;  he  gave 
it  one  blow  of  a  sledge,  and  sent  it  out  to  deep 
water.  Blaiman  went  home  full  of  gladness. 

"What  have  you  made?  "  asked  the  uncles. 

"Go  out  and  see  for  yourselves,"  answered 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  377 

The  two  went,  and  saw  the  ship  in  the  harbor. 
They  were  delighted  to  see  the  fine  vessel,  as 
they  themselves  could  not  build  it.  The  voice 
had  built  it  with  Blaiman  in  return  for  his 

Next  morning  provisions  for  a  day  and  a  year 
were  placed  in  the  vessel.  The  two  sons  of  the 
king  went  on  board,  raised  the  sails,  and  were 
moving  out  toward  the  great  ocean.  Blaiman 
saw  the  ship  leaving,  and  began  to  cry;  he  was 
sorry  that,  after  building  the  ship,  it  was  not  he 
who  had  the  first  trial  of  his  own  work.  When 
his  mother  heard  him,  she  grew  sorry  too,  and 
asked  what  trouble  was  on  him ;  and  he  told  her 
that  after  he  had  built  the  ship,  he  wanted  to 
have  the  first  trial  of  it. 

"You  are  foolish,"  said  she.  "You  are  only 
a  boy  yet;  your  bones  are  not  hard.  You  must 
not  think  of  going  to  strange  countries." 

He  answered,  that  nothing  would  do*  him  but 
to  go.  The  old  king,  the  grandfather,  wanted 
Blaiman  to  stay;  but  he  would  not. 

"Well,"  said  the  king,  "what  I  have  not  done 
for  another  I  will  do  now  for  you.  I  will  give 
you  my  sword ;  and  you  will  never  be  put  back 
by  any  man  while  you  keep  that  blade." 

Blaiman  left  the  house  then;  the  vessel  was 
outside  the  harbor  already.  He  ran  to  the  mouth 

378  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

of  the  harbor,  and,  placing  the  point  of  his  sword 
on  the  brink  of  the  shore,  gave  one  leap  out  on 
board.  The  two  uncles  were  amazed  when  they 
saw  what  their  nephew  had  done,  and  were  full 
of  joy  at  having  him  with  them.  They  turned 
the  ship's  prow  to  the  sea,  and  the  stern  to  land. 
They  raised  to  the  tops  of  the  hard,  tough, 
stained  masts  the  great  sweeping  sails,  and  took 
their  capacious,  smoothly-polished  vessel  past 
harbors  with  gently  sloping  shores,  and  there 
the  ship  left  behind  it  pale-green  wavelets. 
Then,  with  a  mighty  wind,  they  went  through 
great  flashing,  stern-dashing  waves  with  such 
force  that  not  a  nail  in  the  ship  was  unheated, 
or  a  finger  on  a  man  inactive;  and  so  did  the 
ship  hurry  forward  that  its  stern  rubbed  its  prow, 
and  it  raised  before  it,  by  dint  of  sailing,  a 
proud,  haughty  ridge  through  the  middle  of  the 
fair,  red  sea. 

When  the  wind  failed,  they  sat  down  with  the 
oars  of  fragrant  beech  or  white  ash,  and  with 
every  stroke  they  sent  the  ship  forward  three 
leagues  on  the  sea,  where  fishes,  seals,  and 
monsters  rose  around  them,  making  music  and 
sport,  and  giving  courage  to  the  men ;  and  the 
three  never  stopped  nor  cooled  until  they  sailed 
into  the  kindgom  of  the  White  Strand.  Then 
they  drew  their  vessel  to  a  place  where  no  wave 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  379 

was  striking,  nor  wind  rocking  it,  nor  the  sun 
splitting  it,  nor  even  a  crow  of  the  air  dropping 
upon  it;  but  a  clean  strand  before  it,  and  coarse 
sand  on  which  wavelets  were  breaking.  They 
cast  two  anchors  toward  the  sea,  and  one  toward 
land,  and  gave  the  vessel  the  fixing  of  a  day  and 
a  full  year,  though  they  might  not  be  absent  more 
than  one  hour. 

On  the  following  day  they  saw  one  wide  forest 
as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach;  they  knew  not 
what  manner  of  land  was  it. 

"  Would  you  go  and  inquire,"  said  Blaiman  to 
the  elder  uncle,  "what  sort  of  a  country  that  is 
inside?  "  The  uncle  went  in,  very  slowly,  among 
the  trees,  and  at  last,  seeing  flashes  of  light 
through  the  forest,  rushed  back  in  terror,  the 
eyes  starting  out  of  his  head. 

"  What  news  have  you  ?  "  asked  Blaiman. 

"  I  saw  flashes  of  fire,  and  could  not  go  farther," 
said  the  elder  king's  son. 

"Go  you,"  said  Blaiman  to  the  other,  "and 
bring  some  account  of  the  country."  • 

He  did  not  go  much  farther  than  the  elder 
brother,  then  came  back,  and  said,  "  We  may  as 
well  sail  home  again." 

"Well,"  said  Blaiman,  "ye  have  provisions 
for  a  day  and  a  year  in  this  vessel.  I  will  go 
now,  and  do  ye  remain  here;  if  I  am  not  back 

380  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

before  the  end  of  the  day  and  the  year,  wait  no 
longer."  He  gave  them  good  by,  then  went  on, 
and  entered  the  forest.  It  was  not  long  till  he 
met  with  the  flashes.  He  did  not  mind  them,  but 
went  forward ;  and  when  he  had  gone  a  good 
distance,  he  found  the  trees  farther  apart  and 
scattered.  Leaving  the  trees,  he  came  out  on 
abroad,  open  plain;  in  the  middle  of  the  plain 
was  a  castle;  in  front  of  the  castle  twelve  cham- 
pions practising  at  feats  of  arms;  and  it  was  the 
flashes  from  the  blows  of  their  swords  that  he 
and  his  uncles  had  seen  in  the  forest.  So  skilled 
were  the  champions  that  not  one  of  them  could 
draw  a  drop  of  blood  from  another. 

Blaiman  was  making  toward  them.  By  the 
side  of  the  path  there  was  a  small  hut,  and  as 
he  was  passing  the  door,  an  old  woman  came  out, 
and  hailed  him.  He  turned,  and  she  said,  "A 
hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,  Blaiman,  son 
of  Apple,  from  Erin." 

"Well,  good  woman,"  said  Blaiman,  "you  have 
the  advantage.  You  know  me;  but  I  have  no 
knowledge  of  you." 

"I  know  you  well,"  said  she;  "and  it's  sorry  I 
am  that  you  are  here.  Do  you  see  those  twelve 
men  out  there  opposite?  You  are  going  to  make 
for  them  now;  but  rest  on  your  legs,  and  let  the 
beginning  of  another  day  come  to  you." 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple. 


"  Your  advice  may  be  good,"  said  Blaiman,  and 
he  went  in.  The  old  woman  prepared  his  supper 
as  well  as  it  was  ever  prepared  at  his  grandfather's 
house  at  home,  and  prepared  a  bed  for  him  as 
good  as  ever  he  had.  He  slept  enough,  and.  he 
wanted  it.  When  day  overtook  him  on  the  mor- 
row, he  rose,  and  washed  his  face  and  hands,  and 
asked  mercy  and  help  from  God,  and  if  he  did 
not  he  let  it  alone;  and  the  old' woman  prepared 
breakfast  in  the  best  way  she  could,  and  it  was 
not  the  wrong  way.  He  went  off  then  in  good 
courage  to  the  castle  of  the  king;  and  there  was 
a  pole  of  combat  in  front  of  the  castle  which  a 
man  wanting  combat  would  strike  with  his  sword. 
He  struck  the  pole  a  blow  that  was  heard 
throughout  the  whole  kingdom. 

"Good,  good!"  said  the  king;  "the  like  of 
that  blow  was  not  struck  while  I  am  in  this 

He  put  his  head  through  a  window  above,  and 
saw  Blaiman  outside. 

Around  the  rear  of  the  castle  was  a  high  wall 
set  with  iron  spikes.  Few  were  the  spikes  with- 
out heads  on  them ;  some  heads  were  fresh,  some 
with  part  of  the  flesh  on  them,  and  some  were 
only  bare  skulls.  It  was  a  dreadful  sight  to  see; 
and  strong  was  the  man  that  it  would  not  put 
fright  on. 

382  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"What  do  you  want?"  asked  the  king  of 

"Your  daughter  to  marry,  or  combat." 

"'Tis  combat  you  will  get,"  said  the  king; 
and  the  twelve  champions  of  valor  were  let  out 
at  him  together,  It  was  pitiful  to  see  him;  each 
one  of  the  twelve  aiming  a  blow  at  him,  he  try- 
ing to  defend  himself,  and  he  all  wounded  and 
hacked  by  them.  When  the  day  was  growing 
late,  he  began  to  be  angry;  the  noble  blood 
swelled  in  his  breast  to  be  uppermost;  and  he 
rose,  with  the  activity  of  his  limbs,  out  of  the 
joints  of  his  bones  over  them,  and  with  three 
sweeping  blows  took  the  twelve  heads  off  the 
champions.  He  left  the  place  then,  deeply 
wounded,  and  went  back  to  the  old  woman's 
cabin;  and  if  he  did,  it  was  a  pleasure  for  the  old 
woman  to  see  him.  She  put  him  into  a  caldron 
of  venom,  and  then  into  a  caldron  of  cure.  When 
he  came  out,  he  was  perfectly  healed;  and  the  old 
woman  said,  — 

"Victory  and  prosperity  to  you,  my  boy.  I 
think  you  will  do  something  good;  for  the  twelve 
were  the  strongest  and  ablest  of  all  the  king's 
forces.  You  have  done  more  than  any  man  that 
ever  walked  this  way  before." 

They  made  three  parts  of  the  night :  the  first 
part,  they  spent  in  eating  and  drinking;  the 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  383 

second,  in  telling  tales  and  singing  ballads; /the 
third,  in  rest  and  sound  sleep. 

He  had  a  good  sleep,  and  he  needed  it.  filing 
anxious,  he  rose  early;  and  as  early  as  he  'rose, 
breakfast  was  ready  before  him,  prepared  by 
the  old  woman.  He  ate  his  breakfast,  went  to 
the  king's  castle,  and  struck  the  pole. 

"What  do  you  want?  "  asked  the  king,  thrust- 
ing his  head  through  the  window. 

"Seven  hundred  men  at  my  right  hand,  seven 
hundred  at  my  left,  seven  hundred  behind  me, 
and  as  many  as  on  the  three  sides  out  before 

They  were  sent  to  him  four  deep  through  four 
gates.  He  went  through  them  as  a  hawk  through 
a  flock  of  small  birds  on  a  March  day,  or  as  a 
blackbird  or  a  small  boy  from  Iraghti  Conor 
between  two  thickets.  He  made  lanes  and  roads 
through  them,  and  slew  them  all.  He  made  then 
a  heap  of  their  heads,  a  heap  of  their  bodies,  and 
a  heap  of  their  weapons.  Trembling  fear  came 
on  the  king,  and  Blaiman  went  to  the  old 
woman's  cabin. 

"Victory  and  prosperity  to  you,  my  boy;  you 
have  all  his  forces  stretched  now,  unless  he  comes 
out  against  you  himself;  and  I'm  full  sure  that 
he  will  not.  He  '11  give  you  the  daughter." 

She  had   a  good  dinner  before  him.      He  had 

384  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

fought  so  well  that  there  was  neither  spot  nor 
scar  on  his  skin;  for  he  had  not  let  a  man  of  the 
forty-two  hundred  come  within  sword's  length  of 
his  body.  He  passed  the  night  as  the  previous 

Next  morning  after  breakfast,  he  went  to  the 
castle,  and  with  one  blow  made  wood  lice  of  the 
king's  pole  of  combat.  The  king  went  down  to 
Blaiman,  took  him  under  the  arm,  and,  leading 
him  up  to  the  high  chamber  where  the  daughter 
was,  put  her  hand  in  his. 

The  king's  daughter  kissed  Blaiman,  and 
embraced  him,  and  gave  him  a  ring  with  her 
name  and  surname  written  inside  on  it.  This 
was  their  marriage. 

Next  day  Blaiman,  thinking  that  his  uncles 
had  waited  long  enough,  and  might  go  back  to 
Erin,  said  to  the  king,  "I  will  visit  my  uncles, 
and  then  return  hither." 

His  wife,  an  only  child,  was  heir  to  the  king- 
dom, and  he  was  to  reign  with  her. 

"Oh,"  said  the  king,  "something  else  is  troub- 
ling me  now.  There  are  three  giants,  neighbors 
of  mine,  and  they  are  great  robbers.  All  my 
forces  are  killed;  and  before  one  day  passes  the 
giants  will  be  at  me,  and  throw  me  out  of  the 

"Well/'  said   Blaiman,  "I  will  not  leave  you 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  385 

till  I  settle  the  giants:  but  now  tell  where  they 
are  to  be  found." 

"I  will,"  said  the  king;  and  he  gave  him  all 
needful  instruction.  Blaiman  went  first  to  the 
house  of  the  youngest  giant,  where  he  struck  the 
pole  of  combat,  and  the  sound  was  heard  over 
all  that  giant's  kingdom. 

"Good,  good!"  said  the  giant;  "the  like  of 
that  blow  has  never  been  struck  on  that  pole  of 
combat  before,"  and  out  he  came. 

"A  nerve  burning  of  the  heart  to  you,  you 
miserable  wretch!"  said  the  giant  to  Blaiman; 
"and  great  was  your  impudence  to  come  to  my 
castle  at  all." 

"It  is  not  caring  to  give  you  pleasure  that  I 
am,"  said  Blaiman,  "but  to  knock  a  tormenting 
satisfaction  out  of  your  ribs. " 

"  Is  it  hard,  thorny  wrestling  that  you  want,  or 
fighting  with  sharp  gray  swords  in  the  lower  and 
upper  ribs  ?  "  asked  the  giant. 

"I  will  fight  with  sharp  gray  swords,"  said 

The  giant  went  in,  and  fitted  on  his  wide, 
roomy  vest,  his  strong,  unbreakable  helmet,  his 
cross-worked  coat-of-mail ;  then  he  took  his  bossy, 
pale-red  shield  and  his  spear.  Every  hair  on 
his  head  and  in  his  beard  was  so  stiffly  erect  from 
anger  and  rage  that  a  small  apple  or  a  sloe,  an 


386  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

iron  apple  or  a  smith's  anvil,  might  stand  on 
each  hair  of  them. 

Blaiman  fitted  on  his  smooth,  flowery  stockings, 
and  his  two  dry  warm  boots  of  the  hide  of  a 
small  cow,  that  was  the  first  calf  of  another 
cow  that  never  lay  on  any  one  of  her  sides. 
He  fitted  on  his  single-threaded  silken  girdle 
which  three  craftsmen  had  made,  underneath  his 
broad-pointed,  sharp  sword  that  would  not  leave 
a  remnant  uncut,  or,  if  it  did,  what  it  left  at  the 
first  blow  it  took  at  the  second.  This  sword 
was  to  be  unsheathed  with  the  right  hand,  and 
sheathed  with  the  left.  He  gave  the  first  blood 
of  battle  as  a  terrible  oath  that  he  himself  was, 
the  choice  champion  of  the  Fenians,  the  feather 
of  greatness,  the  slayer  of  a  champion  of  bravery; 
a  man  to  compel  justice  and  right,  but  not  give 
either  justice  or  right;  a  man  who  had  earned 
what  he  owned  in  the  gap  of  every  danger,  in 
the  path  of  every  hardship,  who  was  sure  to  get 
what  belonged  to  him,  or  to  know  who  de- 
tained it. 

They  rushed  at  each  then  like  two  bulls  of  the 
wilderness,  or  two  wild  echoes  of  the  cliff;  they 
made  soft  ground  of  the  hard,  and  hard  ground 
of  the  soft;  they  made  low  ground  of  high,  and 
high  ground  of  low.  They  made  whirling  circles 
of  the  earth,  and  mill-wheels  of  the  sky;  and  if 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  387 

any  one  were  to  come  from  the  lower  to  the 
upper  world,  it  was  to  see  those  two  that  he 
should  come.  They  were  this  way  at  each  other 
to  the  height  of  the  evening.  Blaiman  was 
growing  hungry;  and  through  dint  of  anger  he 
rose  with  the  activity  of  his  limbs,  and  with  one 
stroke  of  his  sword  cut  off  the  giant's  head. 
There  was  a  tree  growing  near.  Blaiman  knocked 
off  a  tough,  slender  branch,  put  one  end  of  it  in 
through  the  left  ear  and  out  through  the  right, 
then  putting  the  head  on  the  sword,  and  the 
sword  on  his  shoulder,  went  home  to  the  king. 
Coming  near  the  castle  with  the  giant's  head,  he 
met  a  man  tied  in  a  tree  whose  name  was  Hung 
Up  Naked. 

"  Victory  and  prosperity  to  you,  young  cham- 
pion," said  the  man;  "you  have  done  well  hither- 
to; now  loose  me  from  this." 

"Are  you  long  there?  "  asked  Blaiman. 

"I  am  seven  years  here,"  answered  the  other. 

"Many  a  man  passed  this  way  during  that 
time.  As  no  man  of  them  loosed  you,  I  will  not 
loose  you." 

He  went  home  then,  and  threw  down  the  head  by 
the  side  of  the  castle.  The  head  was  so  weighty 
that  the  castle  shook  to  its  deepest  foundations. 
The  king  came  to  the  hall-door,  shook  Blamian's 
hand,  and  kissed  him.  They  spent  that  night  as 

388  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  previous  night;  and  on  the  next  day  he  went 
to  meet  the  second  giant,  came  to  his  house,  and 
struck  the  pole  of  combat.  The  giant  put  out  his 
head,  and  said,  "  You  rascal,  I  lay  a  wager  it  was 
you  who  killed  my  young  brother  yesterday; 
you  '11  pay  for  it  now,  for  I  think  it  is  a  sufficient 
length  of  life  to  get  a  glimpse  of  you,  and  I  know 
not  what  manner  of  death  I  should  give  you." 

"It  is  not  to  offer  satisfaction  that  I  am  here," 
said  Blaiman,  "but  to  give  you  the  same  as  your 

"  Is  it  any  courage  you  have  to  fight  me  ? " 
asked  the  giant. 

"It  is  indeed,"  said  Blaiman;  "'tis  for  that  I 
am  here." 

"  What  will  you  have ?  "  asked  the  gaint ;  "hard, 
thorny  wrestling,  or  fighting  with  sharp  gray 
swords  ?  " 

"I  prefer  hard,  thorny  wrestling,"  said  Blai- 
man; "as  I  have  practised  it  on  the  lawns  with 
noble  children." 

They  seized  each  other,  and  made  soft  places 
hard,  and  hard  places  soft;  they  drew  wells  of 
spring  water  through  the  hard,  stony  ground  in 
such  fashion  that  the  place  under  them  was  a  soft 
quagmire,  in  which  the  giant,  who  was  weighty, 
was  sinking.  He  sank  to  his  knees.  Blaiman 
then  caught  hold  of  him  firmly,  and  forced  him 
down  to  his  hips. 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  389 

"  Am  I  to  cut  off  your  head  now  ?  "  asked 

"Do  not  do  that,"  said  the  giant.  "  Spare  me, 
and  I  will  give  you  my  treasure -room,  and  all 
that  I  have  of  gold  and  silver." 

"I  will  give  you  your  own  award,"  said 
Blaiman.  "  If  I  were  in  your  place,  and  you  in 
mine,  would  you  let  me  go  free?  " 

"I  would  not,"  said  the  giant. 

Blaiman  drew  his  broad,  shadowy  sword  made 
in  Erin.  It  had  edge,  temper,  and  endurance; 
and  with  one  blow  he  took  the  two  heads  off  the 
giant,  and  carried  the  heads  to  the  castle.  He 
passed  by  Hung  Up  Naked,  who  asked  him  to 
loose  him ;  but  he  refused.  When  Blaiman  threw 
the  heads  down,  much  as  the  castle  shook  the 
first  day,  it  shook  more  the  second. 

The  king  and  his  daughter  were  greatly  re- 
joiced. They  stifled  him  with  kisses,  drowned 
him  with  tears,  and  dried  him  with  stuffs  of  silk 
and  satin ;  they  gave  him  the  taste  of  every  food 
and  the  odor  of  every  drink,  —  Greek  honey  and 
Lochlin  beer  in  dry,  warm  cups,  and  the  taste 
of  honey  in  every  drop  of  the  beer.  I  bailing  it 
out,  it  would  be  a  wonder  if  I  myself  was  not 

They  passed  that  night  as  the  night  before. 
Next  morning  Blaiman  was  very  tired  and  weary 

390  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

after  his  two  days'  fight,  and  the  third  giant's 
land  was  far  distant. 

"  Have  you  a  horse  of  any  kind  for  me  to 
ride  ? "  asked  he  of  the  king. 

"Be  not  troubled,"  said  the  king.  "There  is 
a  stallion  in  my  stable  that  has  not  been  out  for 
seven  years,  but  fed  on  red  wheat  and  pure  spring 
water;  if  you  think  you  can  ride  that  horse,  you 
may  take  him." 

Blaiman  went  to  the  stable.  When  the  horse 
saw  the  stranger,  he  bared  his  teeth  back  to  the 
ears,  and  made  a  drive  at  him  to  tear  him  asunder; 
but  Blaiman  struck  the  horse  with  his  fist  on  the 
ear,  and  stretched  him.  The  horse  rose,  but  was 
quiet.  Blaiman  bridled  and  saddled  him,  then 
drove  out  that  slender,  low-sided,  bare-shoul- 
dered, long- flanked,  tame,  meek-mannered  steed, 
in  which  were  twelve  qualities  combined :  three 
of  a  bull,  three  of  a  woman,  three  of  a  fox,  and 
three  of  a  hare.  Three  of  a  bull,  —  a  full  eye,  a 
thick  neck,  and  a  bold  forehead;  three  of  a 
woman,  —  full  hips,  slender  waist,  and  a  mind  for 
a  burden ;  three  of  a  hare,  —  a  swift  run  against  a 
hill,  a  sharp  turn  about,  and  a  high  leap;  three 
of  a  fox, —  a  light,  treacherous,  proud  gait,  to  take 
in  the  two  sides  of  the  road  by  dint  of  study  and 
acuteness,  and  to  look  only  ahead.  He  now  went 
on,  and  could  overtake  the  wind  that  was  before 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  391 

him;  and  the  wind  that  was  behind,  carrying 
rough  hailstones,  could  not  overtake  him. 

Blaiman  never  stopped  nor  stayed  till  he 
arrived  at  the  giant's  castle;  and  this  giant  had 
three  heads.  He  dismounted,  and  struck  the 
pole  a  blow  that  was  heard  throughout  the  king- 
dom. The  giant  looked  out,  and  said,  "  Oh,  you 
villain!  I'll  wager  it  was  you  that  killed  my 
two  brothers.  I  think  it  sufficient  life  to  see 
you;  and  I  don't  know  yet  what  manner  of  death 
will  I  put  on  you." 

"  It  is  not  to  give  satisfaction  to  you  that  I  am 
here,  you  vile  worm  !  "  said  Blaiman.  "  Ugly  is 
the  smile  of  your  laugh;  and  it  must  be  that  your 
crying  will  be  uglier  still." 

"  Is  it  hard,  thorny  wrestling  that  you  want,  or 
fighting  with  sharp  gray  swords?"  asked  the 

"I  will  fight  with  sharp  gray  swords,"  said 

They  rushed  at  each  other  then  like  two  bulls 
of  the  wilderness.  Toward  the  end  of  the  after- 
noon, the  heavier  blows  were  falling  on  Blaiman. 
Just  then  a  robin  came  on  a  bush  in  front  of  him, 
and  said,  "  Oh,  Blaiman,  son  of  Apple,  from 
Erin,  far  away  are  you  from  the  women  who 
would  lay  you  out  and  weep  over  you!  There 
would  be  no  one  to  care  for  you  unless  I  were 

39 2  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

to  put  two  green  leaves  on  your  eyes  to  protect 
them  from  the  crows  of  the  air.  Stand  between 
the  sun  and  the  giant,  and  remember  where  men 
draw  blood  from  sheep  in  Erin." 

Blaiman  followed  the  advice  of  the  robin.  The 
two  combatants  kept  at  each  other;  but  the  giant 
was  blinded  by  the  sun,  for  he  had  to  bend  him- 
self often  to  look  at  his  foe.  One  time,  when  he 
stretched  forward,  his  helmet  was  lifted  a  little, 
Blaiman  got  a  glimpse  of  his  neck,  near  the  ear. 
That  instant  he  stabbed  him.  The  giant  was 
bleeding  till  he  lost  the  last  of  his  blood.  Then 
Blaiman  cut  the  three  heads  off  him,  and  carried 
them  home  on  the  pommel  of  his  saddle.  When  he 
was  passing,  Hung  Up  Naked  begged  for  release; 
but  Blaiman  refused  and  went  on.  Hung  Up 
Naked  praised  him  for  his  deeds,  and  continued 
to  praise.  On  second  thought,  Blaiman  turned 
back,  and  began  to  release  Hung  Up  Naked;  but 
if  he  did,  as  fast  as  he  loosened  one  bond,  two 
squeezed  on  himself,  in  such  fashion  that  when 
he  had  Hung  Up  Naked  unbound,  he  was  himself 
doubly  bound;  he  had  the  binding  of  five  men 
hard  and  tough  on  his  body.  Hung  Up  Naked 
was  free  now;  he  mounted  Blaiman's  steed,  and 
rode  to  the  king's  castle.  He  threw  down  the 
giant's  heads,  and  never  stopped  nor  stayed  till 
he  went  to  where  the  king's  daughter  was,  put 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  393 

a  finger  under  her  girdle,  bore  her  out  of  the 
castle,  and  rode  away  swiftly. 

Blaiman  remained  bound  for  two  days  to  the 
tree.  The  king's  swine-herd  came  the  way,  and 
saw  Blaiman  bound  in  the  tree.  "Ah,  my  boy," 
said  he,  "you  are  bound  there,  and  Hung  Up 
Naked  is  freed  by  you;  and  if  you  had  passed 
him  as  you  did  twice  before,  you  need  not  be 
where  you  are  now. " 

"It  cannot  be  helped,"  said  Blaiman;  "I  must 

"Oh,  then,"  said  the  swine-herd,  "it  is  a  pity 
to  have  you  there  and  me  here;  I  will  never  leave 
you  till  I  free  you." 

Up  went  the  swine-herd,  and  began  to  loosen 
Blaiman;  and  it  happened  to  him  as  to  Blaiman 
himself:  the  bonds  that  had  been  on  Blaiman 
were  now  on  the  swine-herd. 

"  I  have  heard  always  that  strength  is  more 
powerful  than  magic,"  said  Blaiman.  He  went 
at  the  tree,  and  pulled  it  up  by  the  roots ;  then, 
taking  his  sword,  he  made  small  pieces  of  the 
tree,  and  freed  the  swine-herd. 

Blaiman  and  the  swine-herd  then  went  to  the 
castle.  They  found  the  king  sitting  by  the  table, 
with  his  head  on  his  hand,  and  a  stream  of  tears 
flowing  from  his  eyes  to  the  table,  and  from  the 
table  to  the  floor. 

394  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"What  is  your  trouble?  "  asked  Blaiman. 

"  Hung  Up  Naked  came,  and  said  that  it  was 
himself  who  killed  the  giant;  and  he  took  my 
daughter. " 

When  he  found  that  his  wife  was  taken,  and 
that  he  knew  not  where  to  look  for  her,  Blaiman 
was  raging. 

"Stay  here  to-night,"  said  the  king. 

Next  morning  the  king  brought  a  table-cloth, 
and  said,  "You  may  often  need  food,  and  not 
know  where  to  find  it.  Wherever  you  spread 
this,  what  food  you  require  will  be  on  it." 

Although  Blaiman,  because  of  his  troubles, 
had  no  care  for  anything,  he  took  the  cloth  with 
him.  He  was  travelling  all  day,  and  at  night -fall 
came  to  a  break  in  the  mountain,  a  sheltered 
spot,  and  he  saw  remains  of  a  fire. 

"  I  will  go  no  farther  to-night,"  said  he.  After 
a  time  he  pulled  out  the  table-cloth,  and  food  for 
a  king  or  a  champion  appeared  on  it  quickly. 
He  was  not  long  eating,  when  a  little  hound  from 
the  break  in  the  mountain  came  toward  him,  and 
stood  at  some  distance,  being  afraid  to  come 

"Oh,"  said  the  hound,  "have  you  crumbs  or 
burned  bread-crusts  that,  you  would  give  me  to 
take  to  my  children,  now  dying  of  hunger?  For 
three  days  I  have  not  been  able  to  hunt  food  for 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  395 

"I  have,  of  course,"  said  Blaiman.  "Come, 
eat  enough  of  what  you  like  best,  and  carry  away 
what  you  can." 

"You  have  my  dear  love  forever,"  said  the 
hound.  "  You  are  not  like  the  thief  that  was 
here  three  nights  ago.  When  I  asked  him  for 
help,  he  threw  a  log  of  wood  at  me,  and  broke 
my  shoulder-blade;  and  I  have  not  been  able  to 
find  food  for  my  little  children  since  that  night. 
Doleful  and  sad  was  the  lady  who  was  with  him; 
she  ate  no  bite  and  drank  no  sup  the  whole  night, 
but  was  shedding  tears.  If  ever  you  are  in  hard- 
ship, and  need  my  assistance,  call  for  the  Little 
Hound  of  Tranamee,  and  you  will  have  me  to 
help  you." 

"Stay  with  me,"  said  Blaiman,  "a  part  of  the 
night;  I  am  lonely,  and  you  may  take  with  you 
what  food  you  can  carry." 

The  hound  remained  till  he  thought  it  time  to 
go  home ;  Blaiman  gave  him  what  he  could  carry, 
and  he  was  thankful. 

Blaiman  stayed  there  till  day-break,  spread  his 
cloth  again,  and  ate  what  he  wanted.  He  was  in 
very  good  courage  from  the  tidings  concerning 
his  wife.  He  journeyed  swiftly  all  day,  thinking 
he  would  reach  the  castle  of  Hung  Up  Naked  in 
the  evening ;  but  it  was  still  far  away. 

He  came   in  the  evening  to  a  place  like  that 

396  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

in  which  he  had  been  the  night  previous,  and 
thought  to  himself,  I  will  stay  here  to-night. 
He  spread  his  cloth,  and  had  food  for  a  king  or 
a  champion.  He  was  not  long  eating,  when  there 
came  opposite  him  out  a  hawk,  and  asked,  "  Have 
you  crumbs  or  burned  crusts  to  give  me  for  my 
little  children?" 

"Oh,"  said  Blaiman,  "come  and  eat  your  fill, 
and  take  away  what  you  are  able  to  carry." 

The  hawk  ate  his  fill.  "My  love  to  you  for- 
ever," said  the  hawk;  "this  is  not  how  I  was 
treated  by  the  thief  who  was  here  three  nights 
ago.  When  I  asked  him  for  food,  he  flung  a  log 
of  wood  at  me,  and  almost  broke  my  wing." 

"Give  me  your  company  a  part  of  the  night;  I 
am  lonely,"  said  Blaiman. 

The  hawk  remained  with  him,  and  later  on 
added,  "The  lady  who  went  with  the  thief  was 
doleful  and  careworn ;  she  ate  nothing,  but  shed 
tears  all  the  time."  When  going,  and  Blaiman 
had  given  him  all  the  food  he  could  carry,  the 
hawk  said,  "If  ever  you  need  my  assistance,  you 
have  only  to  call  for  the  Hawk  of  Cold  Cliff,  and 
I  will  be  with  you." 

The  hawk  went  away,  very  thankful ;  and  Blai- ' 
man  was  glad  that  he  had  tidings  again  of  his 
wife.     Not  much  of  next  day  overtook  him  asleep. 
He  rose,  ate  his  breakfast,  and  hastened  forward. 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple,  397 

He  was  in  such  courage  that  he  passed  a  moun- 
tain at  a  leap,  a  valley  at  a  step,  and  a  broad 
untilled  field  at  a  hop.  He  journeyed  all  day 
till  he  came  to  a  break  in  the  mountain;  there  he 
stopped,  and  was  not  long  eating  from  his  cloth, 
when  an  otter  came  down  through  the  glen,  stood 
before  him,  and  asked,  "Will  you  give  me  crumbs 
or  burned  crusts  for  my  little  children  ?  " 

Blaiman  gave  him  plenty  to  eat,  and  all  he 
could  carry  home.  "My  love  to  you  forever," 
said  the  otter.  "  When  you  need  aid,  call  on  the 
Otter  of  Frothy  Pool,  and  I  will  be  with  you. 
You  are  not  like  the  thief  who  was  here  three 
nights  ago,  having  your  wife  with  him.  She  was 
melting  all  night  with  tears,  and  neither  ate  nor 
drank.  You  will  reach  the  castle  of  Hung  Up 
Naked  to-morrow  at  midday.  It  whirls  around 
like  a  mill-stone,  continually,  and  no  one  can 
enter  but  himself;  for  the  castle  is  enchanted." 

The  otter  went  home.  Blaiman  reached  the 
castle  at  midday,  and  knew  the  place  well,  from 
the  words  of  the  otter.  He  stood  looking  at  the 
castle;  and  when  the  window  at  which  his  wife 
was  sitting  came  before  him,  she  saw  him,  and, 
opening  the  window,  made  a  sign  with  her  hand, 
and  told  him  to  go.  She  thought  that  no  one 
could  get  the  upper  hand  of  Hung  Up  Naked; 
for  the  report  had  gone  through  the  world  that 
no  man  could  kill  him. 

398  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  will  not  go,"  said  Blaiman.  "I  will  not 
leave  you  where  you  are;  and  now  keep  the 
window  open." 

He  stepped  back  some  paces,  and  went  in  with 
one  bound  through  the  window,  when  it  came 
around  the  second  time. 

While  Hung  Up  Naked  was  tied  to  the  tree, 
the  tributes  of  his  kingdom  remained  uncollected; 
and  when  he  had  the  woman  he  wanted  safe  in 
his  castle,  he  went  to  collect  the  tributes.  She 
had  laid  an  injunction  on  him  to  leave  her  in 
freedom  for  a  day  and  a  year.  She  knew  when 
he  would  be  returning;  and  when  that  time  was 
near  she  hid  Blaiman. 

"  Good,  good !  "  cried  Hung  Up  Naked,  when 
he  came.  "I  smell  on  this  little  sod  of  truth 
that  a  man  from  Erin  is  here." 

"  How  could  a  man  from  Erin  be  here?  "  asked 
Blaiman's  wife.  "The  only  person  from  Erin 
in  this  place  is  a  robin.  I  threw  a  fork  at  him. 
There  is  a  drop  of  blood  on  the  fork  now;  that  is 
what  you  smell  on  the  little  sod." 

"That  may  be,"  said  Hung  Up  Naked. 

Blaiman  and  the  wife  were  planning  to  destroy 
Hung  Up  Naked;  but  no  one  had  knowledge  how 
to  kill  him.  At  last  they  made  a  plan  to  come 
at  the  knowledge. 

"It  is  a  wonder,"  said  the  woman  to  Hung  Up 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  399 

Naked,  "that  a  great  man  like  yourself  should 
go  travelling  alone;  my  father  always  takes 
guards  with  him." 

"I  need  no  guards;  no  one  can  kill  me." 

"How  is  that?" 

"Oh,  my  life  is  in  that  block  of  wood  there." 

"  If  it  is  there,  't  is  in  a  strange  place ;  and  it  is 
little  trouble  you  take  for  it.  You  should  put  it 
in  some  secure  spot  in  the  castle." 

"The  place  is  good  enough,"  said  he. 

When  Hung  Up  Naked  went  off  next  day,  the 
wife  told  Blaiman  all  she  had  heard. 

"His  life  is  not  there,"  answered  Blaiman; 
"try  him  again  to-night." 

She  searched  the  whole  castle,  and  what  silk 
or  satin  or  jewels  she  found,  she  dressed  with 
them  -the  block  of  wood.  When  Hung  Up  Naked 
came  home  in  the  evening,  and  saw  the  block  so 
richly  decked,  he  laughed  heartily. 

"Why  do  you  laugh?  "  asked  the  woman. 

"  Out  of  pity  for  you.  It  is  not  there  that  my 
life  is  at  all." 

On  hearing  these  words,  she  fainted,  was  stiff 
and  cold  for  some  time,  till  he  began  to  fear  she 
was  dead. 

"What  is  the  matter?"  asked  Hung  Up 

"  I  did  not  think  you  would  make  sport  of  me. 

400  Hero-Talcs  of  Ireland. 

You    know  that   I    love   you,    and  why  did   you 
deceive  me  ?  " 

Hung  Up  Naked  was  wonderfully  glad.  He 
took  her  to  the  window,  and,  pointing  to  a  large 
tree  growing  opposite,  asked,  "  Do  you  see  that 

"I  do." 

"  Do  you  see  that  axe  under  my  bed-post  ?  " 
He  showed  the  axe.  "  I  cannot  be  killed  till  a 
champion  with  one  blow  of  that  axe  splits  the 
tree  from  the  top  to  the  roots  of  it.  Out  of  the 
tree  a  ram  will  rush  forth,  and  nothing  on  earth 
can  come  up  with  the  ram  but  the  Hound  of  / 
Tranamee.  If  the  ram  is  caught,  he  will  drop  a 
duck;  the  duck  will  fly  out  on  the  sea,  and  noth- 
ing on  earth  can  catch  that  duck  but  the  Hawk 
of  Cold  Cliff.  If  the  duck  is  caught,  she  will  drop  / 
an  egg  into  the  sea,  and  nothing  on  earth  can 
find  that  egg  but  the  Otter  of  Frothy  Pool.  If 
the  egg  is  found,  the  champion  must  strike  with 
one  cast  of  it  this  dark  spot  here  under  my  left 
breast,  and  strike  me  through  the  heart.  If  the 
tree  were  touched,  I  should  feel  it,  wherever  I 
might  be." 

He  went  away  next  morning.  Blaiman  took 
the  axe,  and  with  one  blow  split  the  tree  from 
top  to  roots;  out  rushed  the  ram.  Blaiman 
rushed  after  him  through  the  fields.  Blaiman 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple. 


hunted  the  ram  till  he  was  dropping  from  weari- 
ness. Only  then  did  he  think  of  the  hound,  and 
cry,  "Where  are  you  now,  Little  Hound  of 
Tranamee  ?  " 

"I  am  here,"  said  the  hound;  "but  I  could  not 
come  till  you  called  me." 

The  hound  seized  the  ram  in  one  moment;  but, 
if  he  did,  out  sprang  a  duck,  and  away  she  flew 
over  the  sea.  Blaiman  called  for  the  Hawk  of 
Cold  Cliff.  The  hawk  caught  the  duck;  the 
duck  dropped  an  egg.  He  called  the  Otter  of 
Frothy  Pool;  the  otter  brought  the  egg  in  his 
mouth.  Blaiman  took  the  egg,  and  ran  to  the 
castle,  which  was  whirling  no  longer;  the 
enchantment  left  the  place  when  the  tree  was 
split.  He  opened  the  door,  and  stood  inside,  but 
was  not  long  there  when  he  saw  Hung  Up  Naked 
coming  in  haste.  When  the  tree  was  split,  he 
felt  it,  and  hurried  home.  When  nearing  the 
castle,  his  breast  open  and  bare,  and  he  sweat- 
ing and  sweltering,  Blaiman  aimed  at  the  black 
spot,  and  killed  Hung  Up  Naked. 

They  were  all  very  glad  then.  The  hawk, 
hound,  and  otter  were  delighted;  they  were  three 
sons  of  the  king  of  that  kingdom  which  Hung 
Up  Naked  had  seized;  they  received  their  own 
forms  again,  and  all  rejoiced. 

Blaiman  did  not  stay  long.  He  left  the  three 

4O2  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

brothers  in  their  own  castle  and  kingdom.  "  If 
ever  you  need  my  assistance,"  said  Blaiman  to 
the  brothers,  "send  for  me  at  my  father-in-law's. " 
On  his  return,  he  spent  a  night  at  each  place 
where  he  had  stopped  in  going. 

When  the  king  saw  his  daughter  and  Blaiman, 
he  almost  dropped  dead  from  joy.  They  all 
spent  some  days  very  happily.  Blaiman  now 
thought  of  his  uncles ;  and  for  three  days  servants 
were  drawing  every  choice  thing  to  his  vessel. 
His  wife  went  also  to  the  ship.  When  all  was 
ready,  Blaiman  remembered  a  present  that  he  had 
set  aside  for  his  mother,  and  hurried  back  to 
the  castle,  leaving  his  wife  on  the  ship  with  his 
uncles.  The  uncles  sailed  at  once  for  Erin. 
When  Blaiman  came  back  with  the  present,  he 
found  neither  wife,  ship,  nor  uncles  before  him. 
He  ran  away  like  one  mad,  would  not  return  to 
his  father-in-law,  but  went  wild  in  the  woods, 
and  began  to  live  like  the  beasts  of  the  wilder- 
ness. One  time  he  came  out  on  an  edge  of  the 
forest,  which  was  on  a  headland  running  into  the 
sea,  and  saw  a  vessel  near  land;  he  was  coming 
that  time  to  his  senses,  and  signalled.  The 
captain  saw  him,  and  said,  "That  must  be  a  wild 
beast  of  some  kind;  hair  is  growing  all  over 
his  body.  Will  some  of  you  go  to  see  what  is 
there?  If  a  man,  bring  him  on  board." 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  403 

Five  men  rowed  to  land,  and  hailed  Blaiman. 
He  answered,  "I  am  from  Erin,  and  I  am  perish- 
ing here  from  hunger  and  cold."  They  took  him 
on  board.  The  captain  treated  him  kindly,  had 
his  hair  cut,  and  gave  him  good  clothing.  Where 
should  the  captain  be  sailing  to  but  the  very 
same  port  of  his  grandfather's  ^kingdom  from 
which  Blaiman  had  sailed.  There  was  a  high 
tide  when  the  ship  neared,  and  they  never  stopped 
till  she  was  in  at  the  quay.  Blaiman  went  on 
shore,  walked  to  the  chief  street,  and  stood  with 
his  back  to  a  house.  Soon  he  saw  men  and  horses 
carrying  and  drawing  many  kinds  of  provisions, 
and  all  going  one  way. 

"Why  are  these  people  all  going  one  way?" 
inquired  Blaiman  of  a  man  in  the  crowd. 

"  You  must  be  a  stranger,"  answered  the  man, 
"since  you  do  not  know  that  they  are  going  to 
the  castle.  The  king's  elder  son  will  be  married 
this  evening.  The  bride  is  the  only  daughter  of 
the  King  of  the  kingdom  of  the  White  Strand; 
they  brought  her  to  this  place  twelve  months 

"I  am  a  stranger,"  said  Blaiman,  "and  have 
onlv  come  now  from  sea." 

"All  are  invited  to  the  wedding,  high  and  low, 
rich  and  poor." 

"I  will  go  as  well  as  another,"  said  Blaiman; 

404  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

and  he  went  toward  the  castle.  He  met  a  sturdy 
old  beggar  in  a  long  gray  coat.  "Will  you  sell 
me  the  coat?  "  inquired  Blaiman. 

"Take  your  joke  to  some  other  man,"  answered 
the  beggar. 

"I  am  not  joking,"  said  Blaiman.  "I  '11  buy 
your  coat." 

The  beggar  asked  more  for  the  coat  than  he 
thought  would  be  given  by  any  one. 

"Here  is  your  money,"  said  Blaiman. 

The  beggar  gave  up  the  coat,  and  started  to  go 
in  another  direction. 

"Come  back  here,"  said  Blaiman.  "I  will  do 
you  more  good,  and  I  need  your  company. " 

They  went  toward  the  castle  together.  There 
was  a  broad  space  in  front  of  the  kitchen  filled 
with  poor  people,  for  the  greater  part  beggars, 
and  these  were  all  fighting  for  places.  When 
Blaiman  came,  he  commanded  the  crowd  to  be 
quiet,  and  threatened.  He  soon  controlled  all, 
and  was  himself  neither  eating  nor  drinking,  but 
seeing  justice  done  those  who  were  eating  and 
drinking.  The  servants,  astonished  that  the 
great,  threatening  beggar  was  neither  eating  nor 
drinking,  gave  a  great  cup  of  wine  to  him.  He 
took  a  good  draught  of  the  wine,  but  left  still 
a  fair  share  in  the  cup.  In  this  he  dropped  the 
ring  that  he  got  from  his  wife  in  her  own  father's 

Blaiman,  Son  of  Apple.  405 

castle,  and  said  to  a  servant,  "  Put  this  cup  in  the 
hand  of  the  bride,  and  say,  '  'T  is  the  big  beggar 
that  sends  back  this  much  of  his  wine,  and  asks 
you  to  drink  to  your  own  health. '  : 

She  was  astonished,  and,  taking  the  cup  to  the 
window,  saw  a  ring  at  the  bottom.  She  took  the 
ring,  knew  it,  and  ran  out  wild  with  delight 
through  the  people.  All  thought  'twas  enchant- 
ment the  beggar  had  used;  but  she  embraced 
him  and  kissed  him.  The  servants  surrounded 
the  beggar  to  seize  him.  The  king's  daughter 
ordered  them  off,  and  brought  him  into  the  castle ; 
and  Blaiman  locked  the  doors.  The  bride  then 
put  a  girdle  around  the  queen's  waist,  and  this 
was  a  girdle  of  truth.  If  any  one  having  it  on 
did  not  tell  the  truth,  the  girdle  would  shrink 
and  tighten,  and  squeeze  the  life  out  of  that 

"Tell  me  now,"  said  the  bride,  "who  your 
elder  son's  father  is." 

"Who  is  he,"  said  the  queen,  "but  the  king? " 

The  girdle  grew  tighter  and  tighter  till  the 
queen  screamed,  "The  coachman." 

"Who  is  the  second  son's  father?  " 

"The  butler." 

"Who  is  your  daughter's  father?  " 

"The  king." 

"I  knew,"  said  the  bride,  "that  there  was  no 

406  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

kingly  blood  in  the  veins  of  the  two,  from  the 
way  that  they  treated  my  husband."  She  told 
them  all  present  how  the  two  had  taken  her 
away,  and  left  her  husband  behind.  When  Blai- 
man's  mother  saw  her  son,  she  dropped  almost 
dead  from  delight. 

The  king  now  commanded  his  subjects  to  bring 
poles  and  branches  and  all  dry  wood,  and  put 
down  a  great  fire.  The  heads  and  heels  of  the 
queen's  two  sons  were  tied  together,  and  they 
were  flung  in  and  burned  to  ashes. 

Blaiman  remained  awhile  with  his  grandfather, 
and  then  took  his  wife  back  to  her  father's  king- 
dom, where  they  lived  many  years. 


ONE  day  Fin  MacCool  and  the  Fenians  of 
Erin  set  out  on  a  hunt  from  the  Castle  of 
Rahonain,  and  never  stopped  till  they  came  near 
Brandon  Creek,  and  started  a  hornless  deer  in  a 
field  called  Parcnagri. 

Over  hills  and  through  valleys  they  chased 
the  deer  till  they  came  to  Aim  na  Vian  (the  river 
of  the  Fenians).  The  deer  sprang  from  one  side 
of  this  river  toward  the  other,  but  before  reach- 
ing the  bank  was  taken  on  a  spear  by  Dyeermud. 

When  the  hunt  was  over,  Fin  and  the  Fe- 
nians went  back  to  the  place  where  the  deer 
had  been  started  at  Parcnagri,  for  they  always 
returned  to  the  spot  where  they  roused  the  first 
game,  and  there  they  feasted. 

The  feast  was  nearly  ready  when  Fin  saw  a 
boat  sailing  in  toward  the  harbor  of  Ard  na 
Conye  (Smerwick  Harbor),  and  no  one  on  board 
but  a  woman. 

408  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  'T  is  a  wonder  to  me,"  said  Fin,  "that  one 
woman  should  manage  a  boat  under  sail  on  the 
sea.  I  have  a  great  wish  to  know  who  that 
woman  is." 

"'Tis  not  long  I  would  be  in  bringing  you 
tidings,"  said  Dyeermud. 

Fin  laughed;  for  Dyeermud  was  fond  of  the 
women.  "  I  would  not  refuse  you  permission  to 
go,  but  that  I  myself  will  go,  and  be  here  before 
our  feast  is  ready. " 

Fin  went  down  from  Parcnagri,  and  stood  at 
the  strand  of  Ard  na  Conye.  Though  great  was 
his  speed,  the  woman  was  there  before  him,  and 
her  boat  anchored  safely  four  miles  from  shore. 

Fin  saluted  the  woman  with  friendly  greeting; 
and  she  returned  the  salute  in  like  manner. 

"Will  you  tell  me,  kind  man,  where  I  am 
now?  "  asked  the  woman. 

"In  the  harbor  of  Ard  na  Conye." 

"Thanks  to  you  for  that  answer,"  said  the 
woman.  "Can  you  tell  where  is  Fin  MacCool's 
dwelling-place? " 

"Wherever  Fin  MacCool's  dwelling-place  is, 
I  am  that  man  myself." 

"Thanks  to  you  a  second  time,"  said  the 
woman;  "and  would  you  play  a  game  of  chess 
for  a  sentence? " 

"I  would,"  replied  Fin,  "if  I  had  my  own 
board  and  chessmen." 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  King  s  Daughter.    409 

"I  will  give  you  as  good  as  your  own,"  said 
the  woman. 

"  I  have  never  refused,  and  never  asked  another 
to  play,"  said  Fin.  "I  will  play  with  you." 

They  sat  down,  and  Fin  won  the  first  game. 

"  What  is  your  sentence,  Fin  MacCool  ?  "  asked 
the  woman. 

"  I  put  you  under  bonds  of  heavy  enchant- 
ment," said  Fin,  "not  to  eat  twice  at  the  one 
table,  nor  to  sleep  two  nights  in  the  one  bed,  till 
you  bring  a  white  steed  with  red  bridle  and 
saddle  to  me,  and  the  same  to  each  man  of  the 
Fenians  of  Erin." 

"  You  are  very  severe,  O  Fin,"  said  the  woman. 
"I  beg  you  to  soften  the  sentence." 

"No,"  answered  Fin,  "you  must  give  what  is 
asked;  I  will  not  soften  the  sentence." 

"Look  behind,"  said  the  woman. 

Fin  turned,  and  saw  a  white  steed  for  himself, 
and  the  like  for  each  man  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin, 
all  with  red  bridles  and  saddles. 

"Play  a  second  game,  now,"  said  the  woman. 

They  played,  and  she  won. 

"Hasten,  kind  woman,"  said  Fin,  "and  tell  me 
the  sentence." 

"Too  soon  for  you  to  hear  it,"  said  she. 

"The  sooner  I  hear  it,  the  better,"  said  Fin. 

"I    put   you,    O    Fin,    under   bonds    of   heavy 

4io  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

enchantment  to  be  my  husband  till  a  shovel  puts 
seven  of  its  fulls  of  earth  on  your  head." 

"Soften  the  sentence,  good  woman,"  said  Fin; 
"for  this  cannot  be." 

"The  gad  may  tighten  on  my  throat  if  I  do," 
said  the  woman;  "for  you  did  not  soften  your 
sentence  on  me." 

"Do  you  stop  here,"  said  Fin  to  the  woman, 
"till  I  give  my  men  the  steeds,  tell  them 
how  I  am,  and  return.  But  where  are  the 

"  If  I  was  bound  by  sentence  to  bring  you  the 
steeds,  I  was  not  bound  to  keep  them." 

Fin  went  his  way  to  Parcnagri,  where  the 
Fenians  were  waiting,  and  though  dinner  was 
ready,  no  man  tasted  it  from  that  day  to  this. 

Fin  posted  his  men  on  watch  at  various  har- 
bors, left  Dyeermud  on  Beann  Dyeermud  (Dyeer 
mud's  peak),  just  above  the  harbor  of  Ard  na 
Conye,  and  went  to  the  woman.  She  took  his 
hand;  they  sprang  together,  and  came  down  in 
the  woman's  boat,  which  was  four  miles  from 

The  woman  weighed  anchor,  raised  sails,  and 
never  stopped  ploughing  the  weighty  sea  till  she 
came  to  the  White  Nation  in  the  Eastern  World, 
where  her  father  was  king.  She  entered  the 
harbor,  cast  anchor,  and  landed. 

Fin  MacCool  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    41 1 

"When  you  were  at  home,"  said  the  woman  to 
Fin,  "you  were  Chief  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin, 
and  held  in  great  honor;  I  will  not  that  men  in 
this  kingdom  belittle  you,  and  I  am  the  king's 
only  daughter.  From  the  place  where  we  are 
standing  to  my  father's  castle  there  is  a  narrow 
and  a  short  path.  I  '11  hasten  forward  on  that. 
There  is  another  way,  a  broad  and  long  one ;  do 
you  choose  that.  I  fear  that  for  you  there  will 
not  be  suitable  seat  and  a  place  in  the  castle, 
unless  I  am  there  to  prepare  it  before  you." 

Fin  went  the  long  way,  and  the  woman  took 
the  short  path.  It  was  many  a  day  since  the 
woman  had  seen  her  own  father.  For  twenty- 
one  years  she  had  travelled  the  world,  learning 
witchcraft  and  every  enchantment.  She  hurried, 
and  was  soon  at  the  door  of  the  castle.  Great 
was  the  welcome  before  her,  and  loud  was  the 
joy  of  her  father.  Servants  came  running,  one 
after  another,  with  food,  and  one  thing  better 
than  the  other. 

"Father,"  said  she,  "I  will  taste  neither  food 
nor  drink  till  you  tell  me  the  one  thing  to  please 
your  mind  most." 

"My  child,"  said  the  king,  "you  have  but 
small  chance  of  coming  at  that.  The  one  thing 
on  earth  to  delight  my  mind  most  is  the  head  of 
Fin  MacCool  of  Erin.  If  there  was  a  poor  man 

412  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

of  my  name,  he  would  not  be  myself  if  I  had  that 

"  Many  a  year  do  I  know  your  desire,  my 
father;  and  it  was  not  for  me  to  come  back  after 
twenty-one  years  without  bringing  Fin's  head. 
You  have  it  now,  without  losing  one  drop  of  your 
blood  or  a  single  night's  rest.  Fin  is  coming 
hither  over  the  broad  road;  and  do  you  put  men 
out  over  against  him  with  music  to  meet  him, 
and  when  he  comes  between  your  two  store- 
houses, let  the  men  dash  him  against  one  corner 
and  the  other,  and  give  every  reason  worse  than 
another  to  bring  him  to  death." 

The  king  obeyed  his  daughter,  and  sent  out 
guards  and  musicians. 

Fin,  going  over  the  broad  road,  saw  men  coming 
with  music,  and  said  to  himself,  "  Great  is  my 
joy,  or  may  be  my  sorrow,  for  I  fear  that  my  life 
will  be  ended  in  trouble." 

The  men  received  Fin  with  shouts,  and,  run- 
ning up,  pushed  him  from  side  to  side  till  he  was 
bruised  and  bleeding;  then  they  brought  him 
into  the  castle. 

Glad  was  the  king,  and  far  was  the  laugh 
heard  that  he  let  out  of  himself  at  sight  of 
Fin  MacCool. 

The  king  gave  command  then  to  bind  the 
captive,  putting  seven  knots  of  cord  on  every 

Fin  MacCool  and  the  King  s  Daughter.  4 1 3 

joint  of  his  body,  to  throw  him  into  a  deep  vault, 
and  give  him  one  ounce  of  black  bread  with  a 
pint  of  cold  water  each  day. 

Fin  was  put  in  the  vault,  and  a  very  old  little 
woman  brought  his  daily  allowance  of  food. 

On  his  eighth  day  in  prison,  Fin  said  to  the 
old  little  woman,  "  Go  now  to  the  king,  and  say 
that  I  have  a  petition.  I  ask  not  my  head,  as  I 
would  not  get  it;  but  say  that  my  right  arm  is 
rotting.  I  ask  to  be  free  in  the  garden  for  one 
hour;  let  him  send  with  me  men,  if  he  chooses." 

The  old  woman  told  the  request ;  and  the  king 
said,  "I  will  grant  that  with  willingness;  for  it 
will  not  take  his  head  from  me." 

Thirty  armed  men  were  sent,  and  Fin  was  set 
free  in  the  garden.  While  walking,  he  asked  the 
chief  of  the  thirty,  "  Have  you  musical  instru- 
ments ?  " 

"We  have  not,"  said  the  chief;  "we  forgot 
them.  If  they  were  here,  we  would  give  music; 
for  I  pity  you,  Fin  MacCool." 

"When  I  was  at  home,"  said  Fin,  "having  the 
care  and  charge  over  men,  we  had  music;  and,  if 
it  please  you,  I  will  play  some  of  the  music  of 

"  I  would  be  more  than  glad  if  you  would  do 
that,"  said  the  chief. 

The   Fenians    of   Erin   had  a  horn   called   the 

414  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

borabu;  and  when  one  of  them  went  wandering 
he  took  the  borabu  with  him,  as  Fin  had  done 
this  time.  It  was  the  only  instrument  on  which 
he  could  play.  Fin  blew  the  horn,  and  the  sound 
of  it  came  to  Beann  Dyeermud  from  the  Eastern 
World.  Dyeermud  himself  was  in  deep  sleep  at 
the  moment;  but  the  sound  entered  his  right  ear 
and  came  out  through  the  left.  The  spring  that 
he  made  then  took  him  across  seven  ridges  of 
land  before  he  was  firm  on  his  feet.  Dyeermud, 
wiping  his  eyes,  said,  "  Great  is  the  trouble  that 
is  on  you,  Fin ;  for  the  sound  of  the  borabu  has 
never  yet  entered  my  right  ear  unless  you  were 
in  peril." 

Then,  going  at  a  spring  to  Cuas  a  Wudig,  he 
found  the  remains  of  an  old  currachan,  and,  draw- 
ing out  a  chisel,  knife,  and  axe,  made  a  fine  boat  \ 
of  the  old  one.  With  one  kick  of  his  right  foot, 
he  sent  the  boat  seven  leagues  from  land,  and,  fol- 
lowing with  a  bound,  dropped  into  it.  He  hoisted 
sails,  not  knowing  whither  to  go,  north,  south, 
east,  or  west,  but  held  on  his  way,  and  ploughed 
the  mighty  ocean  before  him,  till,  as  good  luck 
would  have  it,  he  reached  the  same  harbor  to 
which  the  woman  had  come  with  Fin  MacCool. 

Dyeermud  saw  the  boat  which  had  brought 
them,  and  said,  laughing  heartily,  "  I  have  tid- 
ings of  Fin;  he  's  in  this  kingdom  in  some  place, 

Fin  MacCool  and  the  King  s  Daughter.  4 1 5 

for   this    is    the    boat    that    brought    him    from 

Dyeermud  cast  anchor,  and,  landing,  drew  his 
sword;  and  a  man  seeing  his  look  at  that  moment 
would  have  wished  to  be  twenty  miles  distant. 
On  he  went,  walking,  till  he  had  passed  through 
a  broad  tract  of  country.  On  the  high-road,  he 
saw  men,  women,  and  children  all  going  one 
way,  and  none  any  other.  High  and  low,  they 
were  hurrying  and  hastening;  the  man  behind 
outstripping  the  man  in  front. 

Dyeermud  sat  on  a  ditch  to  rest,  and  soon  a 
wayfarer  halted  in  front  of  him.  "Where  are 
these  people  all  hastening?  "  asked  Dyeermud. 

"From  what  country  or  place  are  you,"  asked 
the  man,  "not  to  know  whither  all  these  people 
are  going? " 

"  Surely  I  am  not  of  this  place  or  your  coun- 
try," said  Dyeermud;  "and  I  care  not  to  know 
whither  you  or  these  people  are  going,  since 
you  cannot  give  a  civil  answer  to  an  honest 

"Be   patient,    good   man,"   said  the   wayfarer 
"From  what  country  or  place  are  you?  " 

"From  Erin,"  said  Dyeermud. 

"I  suppose,  then,  you  have  known  Fin  Mac- 
Cool,  or  have  heard  of  him?  " 

"I  have,  indeed,"  said  Dyeermud. 

416  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"If  you  take  my  advice,"  said  the  wayfaring 
man,  "you  '11  go  out  on  the  same  road  by  which 
you  came  in,  or  else  not  acknowledge  Fin  Mac- 
Cool  of  Erin,  for  that  man  will  be  hanged  this 
day  before  the  king's  castle;  the  gallows  is  ready 
.and  built  for  him.  When  the  life  is  gone  out  of 
him,  his  head  will  be  struck  off,  and  left  as  a 
plaything  to  please  the  king's  mind  forever. 
The  body  is  to  be  dragged  between  four  wild 
horses;  and  the  same  will  be  done  to  you,  if  you 
acknowledge  Fin  MacCool  of  Erin." 

"  I  thank  you  for  your  answer,"  said  Dyeermud; 
"and  only  because  I  don't  like  to  lay  a  weighty 
hand  on  you,  you  would  never  again  give  advice 
like  that  to  a  man  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin.  But 
show  me  the  way  to  the  castle." 

"If  you  were  on  the  top  of  that  mountain," 
said  the  wayfarer,  pointing  northward,  "you 
would  see  the  king's  castle." 

Dyeermud  went  on  in  strong  haste,  and  from 
the  mountain-top  saw  the  king's  castle.  On  the 
green  field  in  front  of  it  so  many  people  had 
gathered  to  see  Fin  MacCool's  death,  that  if  a 
pin  were  to  drop  from  the  middle  of  the  sky  it 
could  not  fall  without  striking  the  head  of  man, 
woman,  or  child.  When  Dyeermud  came  down 
to  the  field,  it  was  useless  to  ask  for  room  or  for 
passage,  since  each  wished  himself  to  be  nearest 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    417 

the  place  of  Fin's  death.  Dyeermud  drew  his 
sword ;  and  as  a  mower  goes  through  the  grass  of 
a  meadow  on  a  harvest  day,  or  a  hawk  through 
a  flock  of  starlings  on  a  chilly  March  morning, 
so  did  Dyeermud  cut  his  way  through  the  crowd 
till  he  came  to  the  gallows.  He  turned  then 
toward  the  castle,  struck  the  pole  of  combat,  and 
far  was  the  sound  of  his  blow  heard.  The  king 
put  his  head  through  the  window. 

"Who  struck  that  blow?"  asked  the  king. 
"He  must  be  an  enemy!" 

"You  could  not  expect  a  friend  to  do  the  like 
of  that,"  replied  Dyeermud.  "I  struck  the 

"Who  are  you?  "  cried  the  king. 

"My  name  when  in  Erin  is  Dyeermud." 

"What  brought  you  hither?  "  asked  the  king. 

"I  came,"  replied  Dyeermud,  "to  succor  my 
chief,  Fin  MacCool." 

The  king  let  a  laugh  out  of  him,  and  asked, 
"Have  any  more  men  come  besides  you?" 

"When  you  finish  with  me,  you  may  be  looking 
for  others,"  said  Dyeermud. 

"What  do  you  want  to-day?  "  asked  the  king. 

"  I  want  to  see  Fin  MacCool,  or  to  fight  for 

"Fight  you  may,"  said  the  king;  "but  see  him 

you  will  not." 


41 8  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Well,"  said  Dyeermud,  "it  is  too  early  in 
the  evening  for  me  to  rest  without  having  the 
blood  of  enemies  on  my  sword,  so  send  out 
against  me  seven  hundred  of  your  best-armed 
men  on  my  right  hand,  seven  hundred  on  my 
left,  seven  hundred  behind  me,  and  twenty  one 
hundred  before  my  eyesight." 

Fin's  death  was  delayed;  and  the  men  that  he 
asked  for  put  out  against  Dyeermud.  Coming 
sunset,  he  had  the  last  head  cut  from  the  last 
body,  and,  going  through  his  day's  work,  made 
heaps  of  the  bodies,  and  piles  of  the  heads. 

"Will  you  give  me  shelter  from  the  night 
air?  "  asked  Dyeermud,  then  turning  to  the 

"I  will,  and  welcome,"  said  the  king,  pointing 
to  a  long  house  at  a  distance, 

Dyeermud  went  to  the  long  house,  and  to  his 
wonder  saw  there  a  troop  of  wild  small  men  with- 
out faith,  but  no  food,  fire,  or  bed.  These  men 
were  the  agents  of  the  king,  who  put  to  death  all 
people  who  went  against  his  .law.  Though  a 
small  race  of  people,  they  were  strong  through 
their  numbers. 

When  Dyeermud  entered,  they  rose,  and  began 
to  fill  every  cranny  and  crack  they  could  find  in 
the  building. 

"  Why  are  you  doing  that  ?  "  inquired  Dyeer- 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    419 

"For  fear  that  you  might  escape;  for  it  's  our 
duty  to  eat  you." 

Dyeermud  then  seized  by  the  ankles  the  one 
who  gave  him  this  answer,  and  flailed  the  others 
with  this  man,  till  he  wore  him  down  to  the  two 
shin-bones;  all  the  others  were  killed  saving  one, 
who  was  chief.  The  small  chief  untouched  by 
Dyeermud  fell  on  his  knees,  and  cried  out, 
"Spare  my  head!  O  Dyeermud,  there  is  not 
a  place  where  you  will  put  one  foot,  in  which  I 
will  not  put  my  two  feet,  nor  a  place  on  which 
you  '11  put  one  hand,  in  which  I  will  not  put  my 
two  hands;  and  I  can  be  a  good  servant  to  you." 

"  No  man  ever  asked  his  head  of  me  with  peace, 
but  I  gave  it  to  him,"  said  Dyeermud. 

Sitting  down  then,  Dyeermud  asked,  "  Have 
you  any  food  ?  " 

"I  have  not,"  said  the  small  chief.  "We  have 
nothing  to  eat  but  men  sent  here  from  one  time 
to  another.  If  you  go  to  the  king's  bakery;  you 
may  find  loaves  of  bread." 

Dyeermud  went  to  the  baker,  and  asked,  "Will 
you  give  me  two  loaves  of  bread  ?  " 

"Hardened  ruffian,"  said  the  baker,  "how  dare 
you  come  to  this  place  for  bread,  or  any  other 
thing,  you  who  killed  so  many  of  our  friends  and 
near  neighbors?  Go  out  of  this,  or  I  '11  burn  you 
in  the  oven." 

420  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  am  thankful/'  said  Dyeermud;  "but  before 
you  can  do  to  me  what  you  threaten,  I  will  do  the 
same  to  you. " 

With  that  he  opened  the  oven-door,  threw  in 
the  baker,  and  burned  him  to  death.  Then  he 
caught  up  as  much  bread  as  he  could  carry,  and 
went  to  the  long  house;  but,  being  used  to  good 
food,  could  not  eat  bread  alone,  and  asked  the 
small  chief,  "Where  can  I  find  drink  and  meat 
to  go  with  the  bread?  " 

"There  is  a  slaughter-house  behind  us,  not  far 
from  here,"  said  the  chief,  "and  the  head  butcher 
might  give  you  a  piece  to  roast  or  boil." 

Dyeermud  went  then  to  the  butcher.  "Will 
you  give  me  meat  for  supper?  "  asked  he. 

"  You  scoundrel  from  Erin,  if  you  don't  leave 
this  place  I  '11  cut  off  your  head  on  the  block 
here,  and  separate  it  from  the  body." 

"Never  have  I  met  better  people  to  oblige  a 
stranger;  but  before  you  can  do  to  me  what  you 
promise,  I  will  do  the  like  to  you." 

So  Dyeermud  caught  the  butcher,  stretched 
him  across  the  block,  and  with  the  butcher's  own 
cleaver  struck  the  head  off  him. 

Turning  around,  Dyeermud  saw  two  fine  stalled 
bullocks  dressed  for  the  king's  table.  Taking 
one  under  each  arm,  he  brought  them  to  the 
long  house,  and  cut  them  up  with  his  sword; 

Fin  Mac  Cool  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    42 1 

then  the  small  chief  cooked  nicely  what  was 
needed.  The  two  ate  a  hearty  supper. 

Next  morning  Dyeerrnud  rose  up  refreshed, 
and  went  to  the  castle,  where  he  struck  the  pole 
of  combat. 

"What  is  your  wish?  "  asked  the  king. 

"To  see  Fin  MacCool,  or  get  battle." 

"  How  many  men  do  you  wish  for?  " 

"  One  thousand  of  your  best  armed  men  on  my 
right  hand,  as  many  on  my  left,  as  many  behind 
me,  and  twice  three  thousand  in  front  of  my 

The  champions  were  sent  out  to  Dyeermud. 
They  went  at  him,  and  he  at  them;  they  were 
that  way  all  day,  and  when  the  sun  was  setting 
there  was  not  a  man  of  the  nine  thousand  that 
had  his  head  on  him. 

In  the  evening  he  made  piles  of  the  bodies  and 
heaps  of  the  heads. 

Then  he  went  back  to  the  long  house,  and  it 
was  better  there  than  the  first  night;  the  small 
chief  had  food  and  drink  ready  in  plenty. 

The  combats  continued  for  seven  days  in  suc- 
cession as  on  this  day.  On  the  eighth  morning, 
when  Dyeermud  appeared,  the  king  asked  for  a 

"I  will  grant  it,"  said  Dyeermud,  "if  you  give 
me  a  sight  of  Fin  MacCool." 

422  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"A  sight  of  Fin  MacCool  you  are  not  to 
have,"  said  the  king,  "till  you  bring  the  hound- 
whelp  with  the  golden  chain." 

"Where  can  I  find  that  whelp?"  inquired 

"The  world  is  wide,"  said  the  king.  "Follow 
your  nose.  It  will  lead  you.  If  I  were  to  say 
't  is  in  the  west  the  whelp  is,  maybe  't  is  in  the 
east  he  'd  be;  or  in  the  north,  maybe  he  'd  be  in 
the  south.  So  here  and  now  you  cannot  blame 
me  if  I  say  not  where  he  is." 

"Well,"  said  Dyeermud,  "as  I  am  going  for 
the  whelp,  I  ask  you  to  loose  Fin  MacCool  from 
what  bonds  he  is  in,  to  place  him  in  the  best 
chamber  of  your  castle,  to  give  him  the  best  food 
and  drink,  the  best  bed  to  lie  on,  and,  besides, 
the  amusements  most  pleasing  to  his  mind." 

"What  you  ask  shall  be  granted,"  said  the 
king,  who  thought  to  himself,  "Your  head  and 
Fin's  will  be  mine  in  the  end." 

Dyeermud  went  home  to  the  long  house,  sat 
down  in  his  chair,  and  gloomy  was  his  face. 

"O  Dyeermud,"  said  the  small  chief,  "you 
are  not  coming  in  with  such  looks,  nor  so  bright 
in  the  face,  as  when  you  left  here  this  morning. 
I  '11  lay  my  head  as  a  wager  that  you  are  sent 
to  bring  the  hound-whelp  with  the  golden 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  Kings  Daughter.  423 

"True,"  said  Dyeermud,  "and  where  to  find 
him  I  know  not." 

"  Eat  your  supper,  then  sleep,  and  to-morrow 
I  '11  show  you  where  that  whelp  is.  Indeed,  it 
is  the  task  you  have  on  you;  for  many  a  good 
champion  lost  his  head  in  striving  to  come  at 
that  whelp." 

Next  morning  Dyeermud  and  the  small  chief 
set  out,  and  toward  evening  they  came  within 
sight  of  a  grand,  splendid  castle. 

"Now,"  said  the  small  chief,  "this  castle  was 
built  by  the  Red  Gruagach  Blind-on-One-Side; 
within  is  the  hound-whelp  with  the  golden  chain ; 
and  now  let  me  see  what  you  '11  do." 

Dyeermud  entered  the  castle,  where  he  found 
a  great  chamber,  and  in  it  the  gruagach  asleep. 
The  hound  was  tied  to  the  gruagach 's  bed  with 
a  golden  chain.  Untying  the  chain  from  the 
bed,  Dyeermud  carried  whelp  and  chain  with  him 
under  his  arm,  and  hurried  on  homeward.  When 
he  had  gone  three  miles  of  road,  he  turned  to  the 
small  chief  and  said,  "That  was  a  mean  act  I  did 
to  the  gruagach." 

"What 's  on  you  now?"  asked  the  small  chief. 

"It  would  be  hard  for  a  man  to  call  me  any- 
thing higher  than  a  thief;  for  I  have  only  stolen 
the  man's  whelp  and  golden  chain."  So  Dyeer- 
mud went  back  to  the  gruagach,  and  put  the 

424  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

hound-whelp  and  chain  where  he  had  found  them. 
As  the  gruagach  was  sleeping,  Dyeermud  struck 
a  slight  blow  on  his  face  to  rouse  him. 

"Oh,"  said  the  gruagach,  "I  catch  the  foul 
smell  of  a  man  from  Erin.  He  must  be  Dyeer- 
mud, who  has  destroyed  the  champions  of  our 

"I  am  the  man  that  you  mention,"  said 
Dyeermud;  "and  I  am  not  here  to  ask  satisfac- 
tion of  you  or  thanks,  but  to  wear  out  my  anger 
on  your  body  and  flesh,  if  you  refuse  what  I  want 
of  you." 

"  And  what  is  it  that  you  want  of  me  ?  "  asked 
the  gruagach. 

"The  hound-whelp  with  the  golden  chain." 

"You  will  not  get  him  from  me,  nor  will 
another. " 

"Be  on  your  feet,  then,"  said  Dyeermud. 
"The  whelp  is  mine,  or  your  head  in  place  of 
him;  if  not,  you'll  have  my  head." 

One  champion  put  his  back  to  the  front  wall, 
and  the  other  to  the  rear  wall;  then  the  two  went 
at  each  other  wrestling,  and  were  that  way  till 
the  roof  of  the  house  was  ready  to  fly  from  the 
walls,  such  was  the  strength  in  the  hands  of  the 

"Shame  on  you  both!"  cried  the  gruagach's 
wife,  running  out.  "  Shame  on  two  men  like  you 
to  be  tumbling  the  house  on  my  children." 

Fin  Mac  Cool  and  the  King  s  Daughter.    425 

"True,"  said  Dyeermud.  And  the  two,  with- 
out letting  go  the  hold  that  they  had,  went 
through  the  roof  with  one  bound,  and  came  down 
on  the  field  outside.  The  first  wheel  that  Dyeer- 
mud knocked  out  of  the  gruagach,  he  put  him  in 
the  hard  ground  to  his  ankles,  the  second  to  his 
hips,  and  the  third  to  his  neck. 

"  Suffer  your  head  to  be  cut  off,  O  gruagach." 

'Spare  me,  Dyeermud,  and  you'll  get  the 
hound-whelp  with  the  golden  chain,  and  my  good 
wish  and  desire." 

"  If  you  had  said  that  at  first,  you  would  not 
have  gone  through  this  hardship  or  kindled  my 
anger,"  said  Dyeermud.  With  that  he  pulled 
out  the  gruagach,  and  spared  his  head. 

The  two  spent  that  night  as  two  brothers,  eat- 
ing and  drinking  of  the  best,  and  in  the  morning 
the  gruagach  gave  Dyeermud  the  whelp  with  the 
golden  chain. 

Dyeermud  went  home  with  the  small  chief,  and 
went  to  the  castle  next  morning. 

"Have  you  brought  the  hound-whelp  with  the 
golden  chain  ?  "  asked  the  king. 

"I  have,"  answered  Dyeermud;  "and  I  had  no 
trouble  in  bringing  them.  Here  they  are  before 

"Well,  am  I  to  have  them  now?"  asked  the 

426  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"You  are  not,"  answered  Dyeermud.  "If  I 
was  bound  to  bring  them,  I  was  not  bound  to  give 
them  to  you.  The  man  who  reared  this  whelp 
has  a  better  right  to  him  than  you  or  I." 

Then  Dyeermud  went  home  to  the  long  house, 
followed  by  the  small  chief;  and  the  next  morning 
he  asked  battle  of  the  king. 

"I  am  not  ready  for  battle  to-day,"  said  the 

"Am  I  to  get  sight  of  Fin  MacCool?  "  inquired 

"You  are  not,"  said  the  king,  "till  you  bring 
me  an  account  of  how  the  Rueful  Knight  With- 
out-Laughter  lost  his  eye  and  his  laugh." 

"Where  can  I  find  that  knight?"  asked 

"The  world  is  wide,"  said  the  king;  "and  it 
is  for  you  alone  to  make  out  where  that  man 

Dyeermud  went  home  to  the  long  house,  sat  in 
his  chair,  dropped  his  head,  and  was  gloomy. 

"O  Dyeermud,"  said  the  small  chief,  "some- 
thing has  gone  wrong  to-day,  and  I  '11  lay  my 
head  that  you  are  sent  to  get  knowledge  of  the 
Rueful  Knight  Without-Laughter;  but  sit  down 
and  take  supper,  then  sleep,  and  to-morrow  you  '11 
not  go  astray;  I'll  lead  you  to  where  that  man 

Fin  Mac  Cool  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    427 

Next  morning  the  two  set  out  together,  and 
that  evening  reached  the  gruagach's  castle,  where 
there  was  many  a  welcome  before  them,  and  not 
like  the  first  time.  The  whelp  was  returned  to 
his  owner;  and  that  night  was  spent  in  pleasure 
by  the  gruagach,  Dyeermud,  and  the  small 

The  next  morning  Dyeermud  went  forward 
attended  by  his  two  friends,  and  toward  evening, 
came  in  sight  of  a  large  splendid  castle.  Dyeer-1 
mud  approached  it,  and  when  he  went  in,  saw 
that  he  had  never  before  set  foot  in  a  grander 

The  Rueful  Knight  Without-Laughter  was 
sitting  alone  in  his  parlor  at  a  great  heavy  table. 
His  face,  resting  on  the  palm  of  one  hand,  was 
worn  by  it;  his  elbow,  placed  on  the  table,  had 
worn  a  deep  trench  in  the  table;  and  there  he 
sat,  trusting  to  the  one  eye  that  was  left  him. 

Dyeermud  shook  the  sleeping  man  gently;  and 
when  he  woke,  the  knight  welcomed  Dyeermud 
as  one  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin.  Dinner  was  made 
ready  for  all;  and  when  they  sat  down  at  the 
table,  Dyeermud  thrust  his  fork  in  the  meat  as  a 
sign  of  request.  "  Is  there  something  you  wish 
to  know?"  asked  the  knight. 

"There  is,"  answered  Dyeermud. 

"  All   in  my  power  or  possession   is  for  you, 

428  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

except  one  thing,"  said  the  knight,  "and  ask  not 
for  that." 

"It  is  that  thing  that  brought  me,"  said  Dyeer- 
mud.  "I'll  take  no  refusal.  I'll  have  your 
head  or  that  knowledge." 

"Well,  Dyeermud,  eat  your  dinner,  and  then 
I  will  tell  you;  though  I  have  never  told  any  one 
yet,  not  even  my  own  lawful  wife. " 

When  the  dinner  was  over,  the  knight  told  his 
story  to  Dyeermud,  as  follows,  — 

"I  was  living  once  in  this  place  here,  both 
happy  and  well.  I  had  twelve  sons  of  my  own 
and  my  own  wife.  Each  of  my  twelve  sons  had 
his  pack  of  hounds.  I  and  my  wife  had  one  pack 
between  us.  On  a  May  morning  after  breakfast, 
I  and  my  sons  set  out  to  hunt.  We  started  a 
deer  without  horns,  and,  rushing  forward  in  chase 
of  her,  followed  on  swiftly  all  day.  Toward  even- 
ing the  deer  disappeared  in  a  cave.  In  we  raced 
after  her,  and  found  ourselves  soon  in  the  land 
of  small  men,  but  saw  not  a  trace  of  the  deer. 

"  Going  to  a  great  lofty  castle,  we  entered, 
and  found  many  people  inside.  The  king  of  the 
small  men  bade  us  welcome,  and  asked  had  I  men 
to  prepare  us  a  dinner.  I  said  that  I  had  my 
own  twelve  sons.  The  small  men  then  brought 
in  from  a  forest  twelve  wild  boars.  I  put  down 
twelve  kettles  with  water  to  scald  and  dress  the 

Fin  Mac  Cool  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    429 

game.  When  the  water  was  boiling,  it  was  of 
no  use  to  us;  and  we  could  not  have  softened 
with  it  one  bristle  on  the  wild  boars  from  that 
day  to  this.  Then  a  small  man,  putting  the 
twelve  boars  in  a  row  with  the  head  of  one  near 
the  tail  of  the  other,  took  from  the  hall-door  a 
whistle,  and,  blowing  first  on  one  side  of  the 
row  and  then  on  the  other,  made  all  the  twelve 
white  and  clean;  then  he  dressed,  cut,  and  cooked 
them,  and  we  all  ate  to  our  own  satisfaction. 

"In  the  course  of  the  evening,  the  king  of  the 
small  men  asked  had  I  any  one  who  could  shorten 
the  night  by  showing  action.  I  said  that  I  had 
my  own  twelve  sons.  Twelve  small  men  now 
rose,  and  drew  out  a  long  weighty  chain,  holding 
one  end  in  their  hands.  My  sons  caught  the 
other  end,  pulled  against  the  twelve  small  men, 
and  the  small  men  against  them;  but  the  small 
men  soon  threw  a  loop  of  the  chain  around  the 
necks  of  my  twelve  sons,  and  swept  the  heads  off 
them;  one  of  the  small  men  came  then  with  a 
long  knife,  and,  opening  the  breasts  of  my  sons, 
took  out  their  twelve  hearts,  and  put  them  all  on 
a  dish;  then  they  pushed  me  to  a  bench,  and  I  had 
to  sit  with  my  twelve  sons  stretched  dead  there 
before  me.  Now  they  brought  the  dish  to  make 
me  eat  the  twelve  hearts  for  my  supper.  When 
I  would  not,  they  drove  them  down  my  throat, 

430  Plero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

and  gave  me  a  blow  of  a  fist  that  knocked  one 
eye  out  of  me.  They  left  me  that  way  in  tor- 
ment till  morning;  then  they  opened  the  door, 
and  threw  me  out  of  the  castle. 

"  From  that  day  to  this  I  have  not  seen  my 
children,  nor  a  trace  of  them;  and  'tis  just 
twenty-one  years,  coming  May-day,  since  I  lost  \ 
my  twelve  sons  and  my  eye.  There  is  not  a 
May-day  but  the  deer  comes  to  this  castle  and 
shouts,  '  Here  is  the  deer;  but  where  are  the 
hunters  to  follow?'  Now  you  have  the  knowl- 
edge, Dyeermud,  of  how  I  lost  my  eye  and  my 

"Well, "asked  Dyeermud,  "will  May-day  come 
soon  in  this  country?  " 

"To-morrow,  as  early  as  you  will  rise." 

"  Is  there  any  chance  that  the  deer  will  come 
in  the  morning?  " 

"There  is,"  said  the  knight;  "and  you  '11  not 
have  much  of  the  morning  behind  you  when 
she  '11  give  a  call." 

Next  morning  the  deer  shouted,  "  Here  is  the 
deer;  but  where  are  the  hunters  to  follow?"  and 
made  away  swiftly. 

Dyeermud,  the  small  chief,  the  gruagach,  and 
the  knight  hurried  on  in  pursuit.  Coming  even- 
ing, the  knight  saw  the  cave,  and  called  out  to 
Dyeermud,  "  Have  a  care  of  that  place;  for  'tis 
there  she  will  enter." 

Fin  Mac  Cool  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    431 

When  the  deer  reached  the  cave,  Dyeermud 
gave  a  kick  with  his  right  foot,  and  struck  off 
one  half  her  hind-quarter. 

Barely  was  this  •  done,  when  out  rushed  a 
dreadful  and  ugly  old  hag,  with  every  tooth 
in  her  upper  jaw  a  yard  long,  and  she  scream- 
ing, "  You  hungry,  scorched  scoundrel  from 
Erin,  how  dared  you  ruin  the  sport  of  the  small 

The  words  were  hardly  out  of  her  mouth,  when 
Dyeermud  made  at  her  with  his  fist,  and  sent  jaws 
and  teeth  down  her  throat.  What  the  old  hag 
did  not  swallow,  went  half  a  mile  into  the  country 
behind  her. 

The  hag  raced  on  through  the  land  of  the 
small  men,  and  Dyeermud  with  his  forces  made 
after  her.  When  they  came  to  the  castle,  the 
king  let  a  loud  laugh  out  of  him. 

"Why  do  you  give  such  a  laugh?"  inquired 

"  I  thought  that  the  knight  had  enough  the  first 
time  he  came  to  this  castle." 

"This  proves  to  you  that  he  had  not,"  said 
Dyeermud;  "or  he  would  not  be  in  it  the  second 

"Well,"  asked  the  king  of  the  knight,  "have 
you  any  man  now  to  cook  dinner?  " 

"He   has,"   said    Dyeermud;    "and    it's   long 

432  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

since  you  or  he  had  the  like  of  him.  I  '11  cook 
your  dinner,  and  we  '11  find  the  food." 

Out  they  went  to  a  forest,  and  brought  in 
twelve  wild  boars.  Dyeermud  skinned  the  game 
with  his  sword,  dressed,  cut,  and  cooked  it.  All 
ate  to  satisfaction. 

Later  on  in  the  evening,  the  king  asked  the 
knight,  "  Have  you  any  man  to  show  action?  " 

"  He  has,"  said  Dyeermud,  "if  you  will  put 
out  the  same  twelve  men  as  you  did  the  first 

The  king  put  them  out;  and  Dyeermud  took 
the  end  of  the  chain  to  pull  against  them.  He 
pulled  till  he  sank  in  the  floor  to  his  ankles;  then 
he  made  a  whirl  of  the  chain,  and  swept  their 
twelve  heads  off  the  small  men.  He  opened  the 
twelve,  put  their  hearts  on  a  plate,  and  made  the 
king  eat  them.  "You  forced  the  knight  to  swal- 
low the  hearts  of  his  own  sons,"  said  Dyeermud. 

"Walk  out  of  the  castle,  and  punish  us  no 
more,"  cried  the  king.  "I'll  let  out  to  the 
knight  his  sons,  with  their  horses  and  hounds, 
and  his  own  horse  and  hounds,  if  you  will  not 
come  to  this  kingdom  again." 

"We  will  go  if  you  do  that,"  said  Dyeermud; 
"but  you  are  not  to  offend  the  knight  or  his 
people ;  if  you  do,  I  am  a  better  guide  to  find  you 
a  second  time  than  I  was  the  first." 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    433 

The  king  took  his  rod  of  enchantment,  went 
out  to  twelve  stones,  struck  the  first,  out  came 
the  first  son  on  horseback,  and  a  pack  of  hounds 
after  him.  The  king  struck  stone  after  stone 
till  he  put  the  twelve  sons  in  front  of  the  castle, 
with  their  horses  and  hounds;  then  he  struck 
the  thirteenth  stone,  and  the  horse  and  hounds 
of  the  knight  appeared. 

The  knight  looked  around,  and  saw  his  eye  in 
the  hole  of  the  chimney,  and  as  much  soot  on  it 
as  would  manure  land  under  two  stone  of  seed- 

"Look  at  my  eye,"  said  the  knight. 

Dyeermud  looked.  Then  the  king  put  the  eye 
in  the  head  of  the  knight,  who  could  see  with  it 
better  than  when  he  had  it  before. 

Out  they  went  now  from  the  king,  safe  and 
sound,  and  never  stopped  till  they  reached  the 
knight's  castle  for  dinner.  When  dinner  was 
over,  Dyeermud,  the  gruagach,  and  the  small 
chief  hastened  on  to  the  gruagach 's  castle,  and 
slept  there. 

Next  day  Dyeermud  and  the  small  chief  went 
home.  On  the  following  morning,  Dyeermud 
went  to  the  king,  told  him  the  Rueful  Knight's 
story,  and  said,  "Now  I  must  have  battle,  or  a 
sight  of  Fin  MacCool." 

"  Battle  I  '11  not  give  you, "  said  the  king ;  "  and 

434  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

a  sight  of  Fin  MacCool  you  '11  not  have  till  you 
tell  me  what  happened  to  the  Lad  of  True 

"I  am  sorry,"  said  Dyeermud,  "that  this  was 
not  said  by  you  sooner.  It  is  late  for  me  now 
to  be  tearing  my  shoes  on  strange  roads,  and 
tiring  my  feet  in  a  foreign  land."  With  that  he 
sprang  at  the  king,  brought  him  down  by  the 
throat  from  the  window  to  the  ground,  and  there 
broke  every  bone  in  his  body.  Then  he  put  the 
castle  foundation  upward,  looking  for  Fin,  and 
destroying  all  that  he  met,  but  could  not  find 
Fin  till  he  met  the  old  little  woman. 

"O  Dyeermud,"  said  she,  "spare  my  head. 
I  am  more  than  a  hundred  years  old.  I  have 
been  faithful  to  Fin  since  he  came  here.  I  have 
never  refused  to  do  what  he  asked  of  me." 

"Your  head  shall  be  spared,"  replied  Dyeer- 
mud, "though  old  life  is  as  dear  to  you  as  it  is 
to  young  people;  and  take  me  now  to  where 
Fin  is." 

Dyeermud  went  with  the  old  little  woman  to 
the  door  of  Fin's  chamber,  and  knocked.  Fin 
knew  the  knock,  and  cried  out,  "  Reach  me  your 

"Take  it,"  said  Dyeermud. 

Fin's  strength  was  trebled  at  sight  of  Dyeer- 
mud ;  and  when  he  grasped  the  sword,  he  swore 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  Kings  Daughter.    435 

by  it,  saying,  "  I  will  cut  off  your  head  if  you 
come  a  foot  nearer." 

"You  are  not  in  your  mind  to  speak  thus  to 
the  man  who  has  gone  through  so  much  for  you." 

"I  am  in  my  mind,"  said  Fin;  "but  if  we  were 
to  close  our  arms  embracing  each  other  in  friend- 
ship, we  could  not  open  them  for  seven  days  and 
nights.  Now,  the  woman  who  brought  me  from 
Ard  na  Conye,  the  bay  which  we  love  most  in 
Erin,  save  Fintra,  will  be  here  soon.  Though 
there  was  nothing  on  earth  to  please  the  King  of 
the  White  Nation  more  than  my  head,  there  is 
another  good  man  in  the  world,  and  the  king 
wishes  his  head  as  greatly  as  mine.  The  daugh- 
ter has  gone,  and  is  using  her  highest  endeavor 
to  bring  that  head  to  her  father;  so  hasten  on  to 
the  boat,  Dyeermud,  I  will  follow.  If  you  find 
food,  take  it  with  you." 

Dyeermud  hurried  off.  In  passing  through  the 
king's  meadow  he  saw  two  fat  bullocks  grazing. 
He  caught  them,  and,  clapping  one  under  each 
arm,  ran  off  to  the  boat.  When  Fin  came,  he 
found  both  bullocks  skinned  and  dressed  there 
before  him. 

They  weighed  anchor  now.  and  raised  sails  for 
Erin,  ploughing  the  weighty  sea  before  them 
night  and  day.  Once  Fin  said  to  Dyeermud, 
"Look  behind."  Dyeermud  looked,  but  saw 

436  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Three  hours  later,  Fin  said,  "  Look  behind, 
and  look  keenly." 

Dyeermud  looked,  and  cried,  "  I  see  behind  us 
in  the  sky  some  bird  like  an  eagle,  and  flashes 
of  fire  blazing  out  from  her  beak." 

"  Oh,  we  are  caught  at  last,  and  it 's  a  bad  place 
we  are  in  on  the  sea;  we  cannot  fight  here." 

The  bird  was  coming  nearer,  and  gaining;  but 
the  wind  favored,  filled  every  sail,  and  sent  them 
bounding  along  till  they  were  within  five  leagues 
of  land;  then  they  made  one  spring,  and  came 
down  in  Ferriter's  Cove. 

No  sooner  had  they  landed,  than  the  bird 
perched  on  the  boat,  turned  it  over,  stood  on  the 
bottom,  and  from  that  saw  Fin  and  Dyeermud 
on  land.  She  made  for  them;  and  the  moment 
she  touched  shore  became  a  woman. 

She  rushed  to  Fin,  caught  him  in  her  arms 
most  lovingly,  and  said,  turning  to  Dyeermud, 
"  You  are  the  wicked  man  who  put  words  be- 
tween me  and  my  husband  and  parted  us." 

Then,  turning  to  Fin,  she  said,  "  Now,  my  dar- 
ling, come  home  with  me.  You  will  be  King  of 
the  White  Nation,  and  I,  your  loving  wife." 

"Right  and  true  for  you,"  said  Dyeermud. 
"It  's  the  good  wife  and  friend  you  were  to  this 
man ;  and  now  I  ask  how  long  must  he  be  your 
husband  ? " 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I  and  the  Kings  Daughter.  437 

"Till  a  shovel  puts  seven  of  its  fulls  of  earth  on 
his  head." 

Dyeermud  drew  his  sword,  and  struck  a  cham- 
pion's blow  on  a  ridge  of  land  that  was  near  him ; 
he  was  so  enraged  that  he  made  a  deep  glen  with 
that  blow;  then  he  caught  Fin,  and,  stretching 
him  in  the  glen,  thrust  his  sword  in  the  earth, 
and,  throwing  it  as  with  a  shovel  on  Fin,  counted 
one,  two,  three,  four,  five,  six,  seven.  "Your 
time  is  up  with  Fin,"  said  he  to  the  king's 
daughter;  "he  is  in  his  own  country,  and  you  are 
a  stranger.  Take  him  a  second  time  if  you  can, 
and  I  pledge  you  the  faith  of  a  champion  that  I 
will  not  put  words  between  you. " 

The  woman  stooped  down  to  put  away  the 
seven  shovels  of  earth,  and  said  to  Fin  while  she 
was  working,  "We  '11  both  be  happy  this  time." 

With  that  Dyeermud  gave  her  one  blow  of  his 
fist  on  the  left  ear,  and  sent  her  spinning  through 
the  air.  She  never  stopped  till  she  fell  at  the 
edge  of  the  ocean,  and  became  Fail  Mahisht;  and 
not  another  cliff  in  Erin  has  so  many  limpets  and 
periwinkles  on  it  as  that  one. 

So  the  daughter  of  the  King  of  the  White 
Nation  gives  much  food  to  people  in  Erin  from 
that  day  to  this. 


ON  a  day  of  the  days  when  Fin  MacCool  was 
living  at  Rahin,  he  went  out  to  walk  near 
Fintra.  He  had  many  cows  and  sheep  at  that 
time,  and  was  going  among  his  cattle,  when  all 
at  once  he  saw  a  big  man  coming  in  from  the 

At  first  he  saw  the  man's  head  and  shoulders, 
then  half  his  body,  and  at  last  his  whole  body. 
When  the  big  man  stood  on  the  strand,  he  saluted 
Fin.  Fin  returned  the  salute,  and  asked,  "  Who 
are  you,  and  what  brought  you  to  Erin  ? " 

"  I  have  come  from  the  King  of  the  Big  Men ; 
and  I  want  to  see  Fin  MacCool." 

"Fin  MacCool  is  not  at  home  now,"  said  Fin. 
"  Are  you  here  with  a  message  ?  " 

"I  am,"  said  the  big  man. 

"  I  will  give  the  message  to  Fin  MacCool  when 
he  comes  home;  there  is  no  one  he  trusts  more 
than  me." 

"  My  master,  the  King  of  the  Big  Men,  has 
heard  much  of  Fin  MacCool,  and  invites  him  to 

Fin  MacCool,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.    439 

come  to  his  castle.  The  king  lost  two  children. 
Some  one  came  in  the  night  and  stole  them. 
Though  guarded  with  wonderful  strictness,  the 
children  were  carried  away.  The  king  fears  to 
lose  a  third  child  soon,  unless  Fin  MacCool 
comes  to  advise  and  assist  him." 

"I  will  give  that  message  to  Fin  MacCool," 
said  Fin. 

The  big  man  left  good  health  with  Fin,  then 
turned  and  went  forward,  going  deeper  till  his 
head  disappeared  under  water. 

A  few  days  later  Fin  was  walking  in  the  same 
place  where  he  had  met  the  messenger  from  the 
King  of  the  Big  Men,  and  he  saw  some  very 
small  men  playing  hurley  on  the  strand.  He 
went  to  them,  and  spoke.  They  answered,  and 
called  him  King  of  the  Fenians. 

"You  seem  to  know  me,"  said  Fin. 

"We  do  indeed,  and  we  know  you  very  well," 
said  the  small  men. 

"Who  are  you?  "  asked  Fin,  "or  what  can  you 

"Oh,  we  have  many  virtues,"  replied  they. 

"What  virtue  have  you?"  asked  Fin,  turning 
to  the  biggest  of  the  small  men. 

"Well,  whenever  I  sit  down  in  any  place  I 
stay  in  it  as  long  as  I  like;  no  man  can  lift  me; 
no  power  can  take  me  out  of  it." 

440  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"What  is  your  name?  "  asked  Fin. 

"  Lazy  Back,"  said  the  little  fellow.  "  No  man 
can  stir  me  when  I  sit  down." 

"  How  am  I  to  know  that  you  have  that 
virtue?"  asked  Fin. 

"You  are  a  strong  man  yourself,"  answered 
Lazy  Back;  "give  me  a  trial." 

The  little  man  sat  down.  Fin  caught  him 
with  one  hand,  and  tried  to  raise  him;  but  not  a 
stir  could  he  take  out  of  Lazy  Back. 

"Try  with  both  hands  now,"  said  Lazy  Back. 

Fin  tried  with  both  hands,  tried  with  all  the 
strength  that  was  in  him,  but  could  not  move  the 
little  man. 

"What  is  your  virtue?"  asked  Fin,  turning  to 
the  second  man ;  "  and  who  are  you  ?  " 

"My  name  is  Hearing  Ear." 

"What  can  you  hear?  " 

"  I  can  hear  a  whisper  in  the  Eastern  World, 
and  I  sitting  in  this  place." 

"What  is  your  name?  "  asked  Fin  of  the  third 

"My  name  is  Far  Feeler." 

"  What  can  you  feel  ?  "  asked  Fin. 

"I  can  feel  an  ivy-leaf  falling  at  the  Eastern 
World,  and  I  playing  here  at  Fintra." 

"What  is  your  name?"  asked  Fin,  turning  to 
the  fourth  player. 

Fin  MacCool,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.    441 

"My  name  is  Knowing  Man." 

"What  do  you  know?" 

"  I  know  all  that  will  happen  in  every  part  of 
the  world." 

"What  power  have  you,  and  who  are  you?" 
asked  Fin  of  the  fifth  man. 

"I  am  called  Always  Taking;  I  steal." 

"What  can  you  steal?" 

"Whatever  I  set  my  mind  on.  I  can  steal  the 
eggs  from  a  snipe,  and  she  sitting  on  them ;  and 
the  snipe  is  the  wariest  bird  in  existence." 

"What  can  you  do?  "  asked  Fin,  looking  at  the 
sixth  man. 

"My  name  is  Climber.  I  can  climb  the 
highest  castle  in  the  world,  though  its  sides 
were  as  slippery  as  glass." 

"  Who  are  you  ?  "  asked  he  of  the  seventh 

"I  am  called  Bowman." 

"What  can  you  do?" 

"  I  can  hit  any  midge  out  of  a  cloud  of  midges 
dancing  in  the  air." 

"You  have  good  eyesight,"  said  Fin,  "and 
good  aim  as  well. 

"Who  are  you?  "  asked  Fin  of  the  eighth. 

"  I  am  called  Three  Sticks.  I  understand 

"What  can  you  do?  "  asked  Fin. 

44 2  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  can  make  anything  I  please  out  of  wood." 

"  Can  you  make  a  ship?  " 


"  How  long  would  it  take  you  to  make  one  ?  " 

"While  you  would  be  turning  on  your  heel." 

He  took  a  chip  of  wood  then  from  the  shore, 
and  asked  Fin  to  turn  on  his  heel.  While  Fin 
was  turning,  Three  Sticks  flung  the  piece  of  wood 
out  on  the  sea,  and  there  it  became  a  beautiful 

"Well,  have  you  the  ship  made?"  ased  Fin, 
looking  on  the  strand. 

"There  it  is,"  said  Three  Sticks,  "floating 

Fin  looked,  and  saw  the  finest  vessel  that  ever 
sailed  on  the  deep  sea;  the  butt  of  no  feather 
was  in,  nor  the  tip  of  one  out,  except  one  brown- 
backed  red  feather  that  stood  at  the  top  of  the 
mast,  and  that  making  music  and  sport  to  encour- 
age whatever  champion  would  come  on  board. 

"Will  you  all  take  service  with  me?"  asked 
Fin,  looking  at  the  eight  small  strangers.  "  I 
wish  to  go  to  the  kingdom  of  the  Big  Men. 
Will  you  guide  me  on  the  journey,  and  help 
me?  " 

"We  are  willing  to  serve  you,"  answered  they. 
"  There  is  no  part  of  the  world  to  which  we 
cannot  guide  you." 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.    443 

"What  are  your  wages?  "  asked  Fin. 

"  Five  gold-pieces  to  each  man  of  us  for  a  day 
and  a  year." 

"  How  much  time  do  we  need  for  the  journey 
to  the  kingdom  of  the  Big  Men? " 

"Not  many  days,"  said  Knowing  Man. 

Stores  and  provisions  were  put  on  the  ship. 
Firi  and  the  small  men  went  on  board,  and  set 
sail;  before  many  days  they  arrived  at  the  king- 
dom of  the  Big  Men,  and  drew  up  their  ship 
high  and  dry.  They  set  out  then  for  the  castle 
of  the  king;  and  no  greater  wonder  was  ever 
seen  in  that  place  than  Fin  and  his  eight  little 

The  king  invited  Fin  and  his  company  to  a 
great  feast.  At  the  end  of  the  feast,  the  king 
said,  "  My  third  son  was  born  to-day.  My  first 
son  was  taken  away  on  the  night  after  his  birth, 
and  so  was  my  second.  I  am  full  sure  that  this 
one  will  be  taken  from  me  to-night." 

"I  will  guard  the  child,"  said  Fin;  "and  if  I 
let  your  son  go  with  any  one,  I  will  give  you  my 

The  king  was  satisfied.  Fin  asked  for  a  strong 
chamber  and  two  nurses.  The  strongest  chamber 
in  the  castle  was  made  ready;  then  Fin  and  his 
men,  with  the  child  and  two  nurses,  took  their 
places  inside. 

444  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Do  you  know  what  will  happen  to-night?" 
asked  Knowing  Man. 

"I  do  not,"  replied  Fin;  "and  I  do  not  like  to 
chew  my  thumb.1  You  can  tell  me." 

"You  gave  your  head  in  pledge,"  said  Knowing 
Man,  "for  the  safety  of  the  child;  and  you  were 
a  strange  man  to  do  so,  for  the  child  will  be 
taken  from  this  to-night." 

"Do  you  say  that?  "  asked  Fin. 

"  I  do.     And  do  you  know  who  will  do  it?  " 

"I  do  not." 

"  I  will  tell  you.  In  the  Eastern  World  lives 
a  sister  of  this  king,  a  savage  hag  and  a  terrible 
witch.  This  hag  went  to  the  Eastern  World 
because  she  had  a  dispute  with  her  brother. 
She  is  ungrateful,  and  full  of  malice;  she  comes 
now  and  steals  away  her  brother's  children  to 
leave  him  without  heirs  to  his  kingdom.  When 
she  finds  this  room  closed  on  every  side,  and  sees 
no  other  way  of  reaching  the  child,  she  will  climb 
to  the  roof,  and  stretch  her  arm  down  to  catch  the 
king's  little  son,  and  take  him  away  with  her." 

Lazy  Back  sat  down  near  the  hearth,  and  swore 
a  great  oath  that  if  the  hag  thrust  her  hand  down, 
he  would  hold  her  or  keep  the  hand. 

1  Fin's  wisdom  came  in  each  case  from  chewing  his  thumb, 
which  he  pressed  once  on  the  Salmon  of  Knowledge.  An  account 
of  this  is  given  in  a  tale  in  my  "  Myths  and  Folk-Lore  of  Ireland," 
p  211. 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.    445 

A  little  after  midnight,  Hearing  Ear  said,  "I 
hear  the  hag;  she  is  making  ready  to  leave  her 
castle  in  the  Eastern  World,  and  giving  strict 
orders  to  guard  the  two  children  while  she  is 

"Well,"  said  Far  Feeler,  "now  I  feel  her 
going  up  through  her  own  castle;  now  I  feel 
her  going  out  through  the  door  on  the  roof. 
Her  castle  has  no  entrance  except  an  opening 
in  the  roof,  and  the  walls  of  it  are  as  slippery  as 

"You  will  warn  me  when  she  is  coming,"  said 
Fin  to  Hearing  Ear. 

"Oh,  I  will,"  said  Hearing  Ear;  "I  will  not 
forget  that." 

In  a  little  while  the  hag  was  at  the  castle,  and 
going  around  it  trying  to  enter.  Although  the 
castle  was  surrounded  by  sentries,  not  one  of 
them  saw  her;  for  she  was  invisible,  through 
power  of  enchantment. 

"She  has  come,"  said  Hearing  Ear;  "she  is 
walking  around  the  castle.  Now  is  the  time  to 
watch  her  well." 

A  few  moments  later,  she  thrust  her  arm  down 
the  chimney;  and  no  sooner  was  it  down  than 
Lazy  Back  caught  her  hand.  When  she  felt  her 
hand  caught,  she  struggled  greatly;  but  Lazy 
Back  kept  the  hold  that  he  had,  and  nothing  could 

446  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

stir  him.  At  last  the  arm  left  the  shoulder  of 
the  hag.  Lazy  Back  drew  the  arm  down  the 
chimney.  All  looked  at  it  with  amazement ;  and 
while  the  nurses  were  wondering  at  the  arm,  and 
Fin  measuring  its  length  and  its  thickness,  they 
forgot  the  child.  The  hag  thrust  her  other  arm 
down  then,  caught  the  child,  and  hurried  away 
home  with  it.  When  the  nurses  saw  that  the 
child  was  gone,  they  screamed ;  and  Fin  said,  - 

"  It  would  be  better  for  us  to  hurry  to  our  vessel, 
and  leave  the  country  before  the  king  is  up  in  the 
morning;  he  will  destroy  us  all  for  losing  his 

"We  will  not  do  that,"  said  the  little  men. 
"Late  as  it  is,  we  will  follow  the  hag,  and  bring 
back  the  child." 

They  set  out  that  moment;  and  since  Fin  could 
not  keep  up  with  the  little  men,  Lazy  Back  took 
him  on  his  shoulder:  and,  in  the  twinkle  of  an 
eye,  they  reached  the  ship,  and  set  sail  for  the 
Eastern  World. 

Indeed,  they  were  not  long  on  the  journey;  for 
they  were  enchanted.  When  they  came  to  land 
near  the  hag's  castle,  Fin,  Bowman,  and  two 
others  remained  on  the  vessel.  Climber,  Thief, 
and  the  rest  went  for  the  child. 

"Where  are  you,  Climber?"  asked  Thief, 
when  they  were  at  the  wall. 

Fin  Mac  Cool,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.     447 

"Here,"  said  Climber. 

"Take  me  to  the  top  of  the  castle." 

Climber  took  Thief  on  his  back,  and  climbed 
like  a  butterfly  to  the  top  of  the  building;  then 
Thief  crept  down  into  the  castle,  and  returned 
quickly  with  the  youngest  of  the  children. 

"Take  this  one  down  to  our  comrades,  and 
hurry  back  to  me." 

Climber  went  down,  and  hastened  up  again. 
Thief  had  another  of  the  children  at  the  top  of 
the  castle  before  him.  Climber  took  that  down, 
with  orders  from  Thief  to  carry  the  two  children 
to  the  vessel.  Then  he  returned  a  third  time, 
and  Thief  had  the  third  child. 

"Take  this  one,  and  come  for  me,"  said  Thief. 

The  little  men  at  the  foot  of  the  castle  ran  off 
to  the  ship  with  the  last  child.  Nimble  as  Thief 
was,  he  could  not  have  taken  the  children  at  an- 
other time.  All  the  servants  were  busied  with  the 
hag,  who  was  suffering  terribly  from  the  loss  of  her 
arm.  They  forgot  the  children  for  a  short  time. 

Climber  took  Thief  to  the  ground,  and  they 
started  at  full  speed  toward  the  ship.  When 
they  came,  Fin  set  sail  for  the  kingdom  of  the 
Big  Men. 

"We  shall  be  pursued  right  away,"  said  Know- 
ing Man.  "  If  the  hag  comes  up  with  the  ship, 
she  will  destroy  every  man  of  us." 

448  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"She  will  not,"  said  Bowman.  "If  I  get  one 
glimpse  of  that  hag,  I  will  put  an  end  to  her 
life;  arid  do  you  listen,  Hearing  Ear,  to  know  is 
she  coming,  and  tell  me  when  you  hear  her." 

"I  hear  her  now,"  said  Hearing  Ear.  "She 
is  raging,  and  she  is  cursing  those  who  were 
minding  the  children,  and  let  them  be  taken. 
Now  she  is  leaving  the  castle;  now  she  is 
racing  on  after  us." 

"Tell  us,  Far  Feeler,  when  she  is  coming 
near,"  said  Fin. 

"  She  is  making  a  terrible  uproar,"  said  Hearing 

"She  is  coming  toward  us.  She  is  very  near," 
said  Far  Feeler. 

Bowman  saw  her,  rested  his  bow  on  the  shoulder 
of  another,  aimed,  and  sent  an  arrow  through  the 
one  eye  in  the  middle  of  the  hag's  forehead.  She 
fell  flat  on  the  sea,  and  lay  dead  there.  Fin  and 
his  small  men  moved  forward  swiftly  to  the 
castle.  They  arrived  one  hour  before  the  end 
of  night,  arid  from  that  time  till  day-break  there 
was  joy  in  the  chamber.  The  small  men  and 
the  two  children  of  the  king  were  playing 
together  and  enjoying  themselves.  Just  before 
day,  the  king  sent  a  servant  to  know  what  had 
happened  in  the  chamber  where  his  son  was. 
The  man  could  not  enter,  for  they  would  not  let 

Fin  MacCool,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.     449 

him;  but  he  looked  through  the  keyhole.  He 
went  back  then,  and  said  to  the  king,  — 

"They  seem  to  be  very  merry  inside;  and  there 
are  two  lads  in  the  room  bigger  than  any  of  the 
small  men." 

The  king  knew  they  would  not  be  merry  unless 
the  child  was  there.  What  he  did  was  to  throw 
on  his  mantle,  and  go  himself  to  see.  He  knocked 
at  the  door. 

"Who  is  there?"  asked  Fin. 

"  I,  —  the  king.  " 

The  door  was  thrown  open,  and  in  walked  the 
king.  He  saw  the  child  in  the  cradle;  but  what 
was  his  wonder  when  he  saw  the  other  two. 
Without  saying  a  word,  he  seized  Fin's  hand  and 
shook  it;  and  then  he  thanked  him. 

"There  are  your  other  two  children,"  said 
Fin;  "and  do  you  know  who  stole  them?  " 

"I  do  not." 

"I  will  tell  you,"  said  Fin.  "Have  you  a 

"I  had,"  answered  the  king,  "but  we  became 
enemies ;  and  I  know  not  where  she  is  at  this 

Then  Fin  told  everything  that  had  happened 
in  the  night.  "And  now  you  have  your  three 
sons,"  said  he  to  the  king. 

The  king  made  a  feast,  which  lasted  seven  days 


450  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

and  seven  nights.  Never  had  there  been  such 
a  feast  in  the  kingdom  of  the  Big  Men  as 
that;  and  sure  why  not,  for  wasn't  it  a  great 
thing  for  the  king  to  have  his  three  sons  home 
with  him?  When  the  feast  was  over,  the  king 
sent  his  men  to  carry  all  kinds  of  riches  and 
treasures  to  Fin's  ship;  and  for  three  days  they 
were  carrying  them.  At  parting,  the  king  said 
to  Fin,  "If  ever  you  need  my  assistance,  you 
have  only  to  send  for  it." 

Fin  and  his  men  sailed  homeward  then  swiftly; 
and  it  was  not  long  till  they  reached  Fintra. 
The  ship  was  unloaded;  and  Fin  was  glad,  look- 
ing at  his  treasures,  and  thinking  of  his  adven- 
tures in  the  land  of  the  Big  Men. 

Some  time  after  Fin  had  come  from  the  land 
of  the  Big  Men,  he  sent  warriors  to  the  chief 
ports  of  Erin  to  guard  against  enemies.  One 
day  his  face  was  anxious  and  gloomy. 

"You  seem  to  be  grieving,"  said  Dyeermud; 
"you  would  better  tell  us  what  trouble  is  on 

"Some  trouble  is  near  me,"  said  Fin. 

"By  my  hand,"  said  Oscar,  "if  you  do  not 
tell  me  your  trouble,  I  will  not  eat  one  morsel 

"Trouble  is  near  me;  but  I  know  not  yet  what 
it  is." 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.     451 

"Chew  your  thumb  then,"  said  Oscar. 

Fin  chewed  his  thumb  from  the  flesh  to  the 
bone,  from  the  bone  to  the  marrow,  from  the 
marrow  to  the  quick,  and  found  out  that  there 
were  three  giants  in  the  Eastern  World  who  were 
coming  to  attack  himself  and  his  forces,  drive 
them  into  the  sea  like  sheep,  and  leave  not  a 
man  of  them  living. 

Fin  knew  not  what  to  do;  and  he  was  in  great 
grief  that  there  should  be  three  men  who  could 
invade  all  Erin,  and  destroy  its  defenders. 

"Chew  your  thumb  a  second  time,"  said  Oscar, 
"to  know  is  there  any  way  to  conquer  them.  We 
have  travelled  the  world,  and  no  people  have  the 
upper  hand  of  us  so  far.  There  must  be  arms 
against  these  three." 

Fin  chewed  his  thumb  the  second  time;  and 
the  knowledge  he  got  was  this,  that  fire  would 
not  burn,  water  would  not  drown,  swords  would 
not  cut  either  of  the  three  giants.  There  was 
nothing  to  kill  them  but  three  things  which  their 
father  had  at  home  in  the  Eastern  World ;  and  if 
they  saw  those  three  things,  they  would  fall  dead, 
and  dissolve  into  three  heaps  of  jelly.  What  the 
three  things  were,  was  not  told.  "Go  now,"  said 
Fin  to  Dyeermud,  "and  find  the  forces,  and  I 
will  watch  myself  for  the  enemy." 

Next   morning  Fin  took  his  sword  under  his 

452  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

arm,  went  to  Fintra,  and  began  to  herd  bullocks. 
He  did  this  for  some  time,  till  one  day  above 
another  he  saw  three  giants  coming  in  toward 
him,  the  water  not  past  their  hips.  He  was  n't 
long  waiting  when  they  came  near  the  cliff 
where  he  was;  and  he  saw  their  hearts,  their 
mouths  were  stretched  open  so  widely,  laughing 
at  the  boy  herding  the  cattle. 

"Where  is  Fin  MacCool  and  his  forces?" 
asked  one  of  the  giants. 

"Well,"  said  Fin,  "it  is  not  for  me  to  tell  you 
where  Fin  MacCool  is;  I  am  only  his  herder. 
But  is  there  anything  in  the  world  to  kill  you? 
It  must  be  there  is  not,  and  ye  to  have  the  cour- 
age to  face  Fin  MacCool  and  his  forces;  for  no 
people  in  the  world  have  ever  yet  beaten  them 
in  battle. " 

"We  have  come  to  Erin,"  said  the  giants,  "to 
find  Fin  MacCool;  and  we  will  drive  him  and 
his  forces  into  the  sea,  like  sheep  from  the  side 
of  a  mountain.  Fire  cannot  burn  us ;  swords  do 
not  cut  us;  and  water  will  not  drown  us.  Noth- 
ing in  the  world  can  cause  our  death  but  our  own 
three  caps ;  and  where  they  are,  neither  you  nor 
Fin  will  ever  know." 

"How  am  I  to  know,"  asked  the  herdsman, 
"that  fire  will  not  burn  you,  or  water  drown  you, 
or  swords  cut  you?  Let  me  give  you  a  blow; 
and  I'll  know  will  swords  cut  you." 

Fin  MacCool,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.     453 

"Oh,  little  man,"  said  one  of  the  giants,  "how 
could  you  reach  us  with  a  sword  ? " 

"I  will  show  you  a  place,"  said  Fin,  "where 
I  may  be  strong  enough  to  give  a  blow  ye  would 
remember. " 

He  led  the  giants  to  a  narrow  place  between 
two  cliffs,  and  stood  himself  on  the  top  of  one 
cliff.  He  gave  then  a  terrible  blow  of  his  sword 
to  the  head  of  one  giant,  but  left  not  a  sign  of 
blood  on  him. 

"  By  my  hand !  "  said  the  giant,  "  if  every  war- 
rior in  Fin  MacCool's  forces  is  as  good  at  the 
sword  as  you,  he  need  not  be  in  dread  of  any  men 
but  us." 

Fin  gave  the  second  giant  a  terrible  blow,  and 
staggered  him. 

"Oh!"  said  the  giant,  "no  man  ever  gave  me 
the  like  of  that." 

He  struck  the  third  giant'a  blow,  and  knocked 
him  to  his  knees;  but  not  a  drop  of  blood  came. 

"  Such  a  blow  as  that,"  said  the  giant,  "  I  never 
got  from  any  man  before.  Now,  how  are  you  to 
know  that  water  will  not  drown  us  ?  " 

"There  is  a  place  which  I  will  show  you,"  said 
Fin.  "If  ye  sleep  in  it  to  night,  and  rise  up 
in  the  morning  before  me,  I  shall  know  that 
water  does  not  drown  you. " 

Fin  showed  a  place  where  the  water  was  twenty 

454  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

fathoms  deep.  The  three  lay  down  together  under 
the  water  to  stay  till  next  morning.  Fin  hurried 
home  then,  gathered  the  Fenians  together,  and 
said,  — 

"  I  am  in  dread  that  these  are  the  right  giants. 
I  knocked  one  trial  out  of  them ;  swords  will  not 
cut  them.  They  are  sleeping  to-night  under 
twenty  fathoms  of  water;  but  I  am  full  sure  that 
they  will  rise  from  it  healthy  and  sound  in  the 
morning.  Now,  be  ready,  all  of  you,  to  scatter 
and  go  here  and  there  throughout  Erin.  To- 
morrow, I  am  to  try  will  fire  burn  them;  when  I 
know  that,  I  will  tell  you  what  to  do." 

The  following  morning,  Fin  went  to  where  the 
giants  had  spent  the  night,  and  whistled.  The 
three  rose  up  to  him  at  once,  and  came  to  land. 

"Now,"  said  the  eldest,  as  he  looked  around 
and  saw  the  cattle,  "a  bite  to  eat  would  not 
harm  us." 

With  that  he  faced  one  of  the  bullocks,  and 
caught  the  beast  by  one  horn. 

"Leave  him,"  said  Fin;  "you  have  no  call  to 
that  bullock." 

Fin  caught  the  bullock  by  the  other  horn. 
The  giant  pulled,  and  Fin  held  his  own.  One 
pulled,  the  other  pulled,  till  between  them  they 
split  the  bullock  from  his  muzzle  to  the  tip  of 
his  tail,  and  made  two  equal  parts  of  him. 

Fin  MacCool,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.     455 

"  'T  is  a  deal  for  me  to  have  this  much  itself," 
said  Fin.  "  I  have  saved  half  of  my  master's 
property.  If  ye  want  food,  ye  will  get  it  at 
Fin's  house.  I  will  show  the  way;  but  first  let 
me  see  will  fire  burn  you." 

"Very  well;  we  will  make  a  great  fire,  and  go 
into  it ;  we  '11  stay  in  the  fire  till  the  wood  is  burned 
down,  and  then  rise  out  of  it  as  well  as  ever." 

There  were  many  trees  in  the  country  at  that 
time.  The  giants  arid  Fin  were  not  long  making 
a  great  pile  of  dry  limbs  and  logs.  When  the 
pile  was  finished,  the  giants  sat  on  the  top  of  it, 
and  Fin  brought  fire.  The  flames  rose  as  high  as 
the  tree-tops. 

"  'T  is  too  hot  here  for  me,"  said  Fin. 

"This  is  pleasant  for  us,"  said  the  giants;  and 
they  laughed  as  Fin  went  from  the  heat. 

Fin  could  not  come  within  ten  perches  of  the 
fire.  It  burned  all  day,  and  the  blaze  of  it  was 
seen  all  the  following  night.  In  the  afternoon 
of  the  next  day,  the  pile  had  burned  down,  and 
the  three  giants  were  sitting  at  their  ease  on  the 
hot  coals. 

"Fire  does  not  harm  us;  you  see  that,"  said 
the  giants. 

"I  do,  indeed,"  said  Fin;  "and  now  ye  may 
go  to  Fin's  house  for  refreshment." 

Fin  showed  them   a  long  road,  hurried  home 

456  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

himself  by  a  short  one,  and  gave  command  to 
the  Fenians  to  scatter  through  Erin,  and  escape.\ 
Then,  turning  to  his  mother,  he  said,  "Make 
three  cakes  for  the  gaints.  put  iron  griddles  in 
the  middle  of  them,  and  bake  them  a  little  in 
the  ashes.  You  will  give  these  to  the  giants  to 
eat.  You  will  say  that  they  are  soft,  not  well 
baked;  that  we  complain  when  the  bread  is  not 
hard.  I  will  lie  down  in  the  dark  corner,  in 
that  big  box  there.  Do  you  bind  my  head  and 
face  with  a  cloth,  and  say,  when  the  giants  are 
eating,  'This  poor  child  is  sick;  I  think  his 
teeth  are  coming. '  ' 

The  old  woman  put  three  cakes  in  the  ashes, 
and  the  griddles  inside  in  them.  When  the 
giants  came,  the  cakes  were  ready,  and  the  old 
woman  was  sitting  near  the  cradle. 

"Is  this  Fin  MacCool's  house?"  asked  the 

"It  is,"  said  the  old  woman. 

"And  is  Fin  himself  in  the  house?  " 

"He  is  not  then,"  said  the  old  woman;  "and  it 
is  seldom  he  is  in  it." 

"  Have  you  any  food  to  give  us  ?  " 

"I  have  nothing  but  three  loaves  of  bread;  ye 
may  have  these,  and  welcome." 

"Give  us  the  bread,"  said  the  giants. 

The    old  woman   put  the   cakes  on  the  table. 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I,  Giants,  and  Small  Men.     457 

One  took  a  bite,  another  took  a  bite,  then  the 
third  took  a  bite;  and  they  all  looked  at  one 

"I  know  ye  think  the  bread  too  soft,"  said 
Fin's  mother.  "The  Fenians  always  blame  me 
for  making  it  too  soft;  and  these  cakes  are  not 
baked  very  well,  They  are  softer  than  the  usual 
bread  of  the  Fenians." 

From  shame,  the  giants  ate  the  cakes,  griddles 
and  all.  "Well,"  muttered  they,  "to  say  tftat 
men  would  eat  the  like  of  that  bread,  and  calllit 
too  soft !  It  is  no  wonder  that  they  walked  the 
world  without  finding  their  equals." 

"What  exercise  do  the  Fenians  have  after 
meals?"  asked  the  giants. 

"There  is  a  stone  outside,"  said  the  old  woman, 
"which  they  throw  over  the  house.  They  throw 
the  stone,  run  in  one  door,  run  out  the  door 
opposite,  and  catch  the  stone  before  it  comes  to 
the  earth." 

One  giant  caught  the  stone,  but  did  not  throw 
it.  "What  is  that?"  said  the  other,  running  up 
and  lifting  the  stone.  To  show  his  power,  he 
threw  it  over  the  house,  ran  through  both  doors, 
and  caught  it  coming  down.  The  same  giant 
threw  the  stone  back  again,  and  left  it  in  its  old 
place.  Each  of  the  others  then  did  the  same  as 
the  first.  The  life  came  near  leaving  Fin  when 

458  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

he  heard  the  giants  throwing  the  stone,  and  rac- 
ing to  catch  it.  He  was  in  dread  they  'd  make 
bits  of  the  house,  and  kill  his  old  mother  and 

"  Oh,  then,'"  said  the  giants,  when  they  left  the 
stone,  "  it  is  no  wonder  that  other  people  get  no 
hand  of  the  Fenians." 

"Well,  old  woman,"  said  the  eldest  giant, 
"what  is  that  you  have  there  in  the  dark 
corner?  " 

"  My  grandson,  and  it  is  sick  and  peevish  he 

"I  suppose  the  child  is  getting  his  teeth?" 
said  the  giant. 

"Indeed,  then,  I  don't  know,"  said  the  old 
woman ;  "  but  maybe  it  is  the  teeth  that  are 
troubling  him." 

With  that  the  eldest  giant  walked  up  to  the 
cradle,  and  put  his  finger  in  the  child's  mouth; 
but  if  he  did,  Fin  took  two  joints  off  his  finger 
with  a  bite. 

"  Oh !  "  said  the  giant,  "  if  the  child  grows  like 
that  till  he  is  a  man,  he  will  be  the  greatest 
champion  in  the  world.  To  say  that  a  child 
could  take  the  finger  off  me,  and  he  in  the 

Away  went  the  giants;  and  when  they  were 
gone,  Fin  called  his  eight  small  men,  and  hurried 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I,  Giants,  c^nd  Small  Men.     459 

to  the  ship.  They  hoisted  sails,  and  away  they 
went.  They  raised  gravel  from  the  bottom  of 
the  sea,  and  put  the  foam  of  the  waves  in  the 
place  of  the  gravel;  and  with  every  bound  the 
ship  made,  she  went  forward  ten  leagues.  Never 
before  did  a  ship  cross  the  water  so  swiftly;  and 
Fin  never  stopped  till  he  anchored  in  the  Eastern 
World.  He  put  the  fastenings  of  a  day  and  a 
year  on  the  ship,  though  he  might  not  be  absent 
one  hour,  and  went  away  with  his  men.  They 
were  going  on  and  travelling,  and  where  did 
they  come  at  last  but  to  the  castle  of  the  old 
King  of  the  Eastern  World,  the  father  of  the 
three  giants.  The  old  king  laughed  when  he 
saw  Fin  and,  the  eight  small  men  with  him. 

"  In  what  part  of  the  world  do  such  people 
live,  and  where  are  you  going?  "  asked  the  king. 
"  You  would  better  stay  with  me  till  my  three 
sons  come  home." 

"Where  are  your  sons?  "  asked  Fin. 

"  They  are  in  Erin.  They  went  to  that  country 
to  bring  me  the  head  of  Fin  MacCool,  and  to 
drown  all  his  forces  in  the  deep  ocean." 

"They  must  be  great  men, ".said  Fin,  "to  go 
against  Fin  MacCool,  and  to  think  of  drowning 
his  forces,  and  bringing  Fin's  head  to  you.  Do 
you  know  that  no  man  ever  got  the  better  of  Fin, 
or  made  any  hand  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin  ? " 

460  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

"My  sons  are  not  like  others,"  said  the  king; 
"  but  will  you  stay  with  me  ?  " 

"I  will,"  said  Fin,  "and  why  not?" 

The  old  king  was  very  fond  of  amusement ;  and 
after  a  while  Fin  told  what  a  wonderful  archer 
one  of  his  little  boys  was.  The  king  appointe 
a  day  for  a  trial  of  skill  in  archery.  All  the 
greatest  marksmen  in  the  Eastern  World  were 

"Where  does  the  king  keep  his  sons'  three 
caps  ? "  asked  Fin  of  Knowing  Man. 

"There  is  a  secret  chamber  in  the  castle;  no 
one  here  but  the  king  knows  where  it  is.  In 
that  chamber  are  the  caps.  The  king  always 
keeps  the  key  of  that  chamber  in  his  pocket." 

"You  must  show  the  chamber  to  Thief,  to- 
morrow," said  Fin. 

Next  day,  while  the  king  was  looking  at  the 
archery,  and  wondering  at  the  skill  of  Bowman, 
who  sent  an  arrow  through  the  two  eyes  of  a  bird 
on  the  wing,  Thief  stole  the  key,  and  Knowing 
Man  showed  the  secret  chamber. 

Thief  stole  the  three  caps,  and  gave  them  to 
Fin.  Lazy  Back  ran  for  Bowman;  and  all  were 
soon  on  the  ship  sailing  for  Erin  as  swiftly  as 
they  had  come. 

When  the  ship  was  near  land  in  Erin,  what 
should  Fin  see  but  all  the  Fenians  coming  clown 

Fin  Mac  Coo  I,  Giants ',  and  Small  Men.    461 

from  the  hill-tops,  and  the  three  giants  behind, 
driving  them  toward  the  water?  He  went  to  the 
top  of  the  mast  then,  and  raised  the  three  caps 
on  three  sticks. 

The  giants  looked  at  the  vessel  sailing  in,  and 
saw  their  own  caps.  That  moment  there  was 
neither  strength  nor  life  left  in  them.  They  fell 
to  the  ground,  and  turned  into  three  heaps  of 
jelly.  Fin  had  come  just  in  season  to  rescue 
his  forces;  in  another  half  hour,  he  would  not 
have  found  a  man  of  the  Fenians  alive  in  Erin. 

"Oh,  but  you  are  here  in  time! "  said  Oscar. 

"I  am,"  said  Fin;  "and  it  is  well  for  youtthat 
I  was  able  to  come." 

Fin  and  the  Fenians  had  a  great  feast  in  Rahin, 
and  a  joyful  night  of  it;  and  no  wonder,  for  life 
is  sweet. 

Next  day  the  time  of  the  small  men  was  out; 
and  Fin  went  to  the  strand  with  them. 

"I  will  pay  you  your  wages  to  day,"  said  Fin. 
"  To  each  man  five  gold-pieces.  I  am  willing 
and  glad  to  give  more;  for  ye  were  the  good 
servants  to  me." 

"We  want  nothing  but  our  wages,"  said  the 
small  men. 

Fin  paid  each  five  gold-pieces.  He  wanted 
the  ship  in  which  he  had  sailed  to  the  Eastern 
World,  and  kept  his  eye  on  it. 

462  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Oh,"  said  Three  Sticks,  "don't  mind  that 
ship;  look  at  the  one  beyond." 

Fin  turned  in  the  other  direction,  and  saw 
nothing  but  water. 

"There  is  no  ship  there,"  said  he,  turning 
to  Three  Sticks. 

But  Three  Sticks  and  all  his  comrades  were 
gone.  Fin  looked  out  on  the  water;  the  ship  was 
gone  too.  He  was  sorry  for  the  ship,  and  sorry 
for  the  small  men;  he  would  rather  have  them 
than  all  the  Fenians  of  Erin. 


ON  a  time  Fin  MacCool  and  the  Fenians  were 
living  at  Rahonain,  a  mile  distant  from 
Fintra.  While  Fin  and  his  men  were  near 
Fintra,  a  champion  called  Ceadach  Og,  son  of 
the  King  of  Sorach,  came  to  them  to  learn  feats 
of  skill.  They  received  Ceadach  with  gladness; 
and  after  a  time  he  learned  all  their  feats,  and 
departed.  Fin  and  the  Fenians  were  pleased 
with  his  company;  and  Ceadach  was  grateful  to 
Fin  and  the  Fenians. 

At  some  distance  from  Fintra,  there  lived  at 
that  time  a  famed  champion,  who  taught  feats  of 
valor  and  arms,  and  was  surnamed  the  Knight  of 
Instruction.  With  this  man  Ceadach  engaged 
to  gain  still  more  knowledge. 

The  Knight  of  Instruction  had  a  daughter; 
and  there  was  with  him  a  second  man  learning, 
whose  nickname  was  Red  Face. 

When  the  champions  had  learned  all  the  feats 
from  the  knight,  the  two  were  in  love  with  his 
daughter.  Not  wishing  that  one  of  his  pupils 

464  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

should  envy  the  other,  the  knight  could  not  settle 
which  man  to  choose.  He  called  then  his  druid, 
and  laid  the  whole  question  before  him. 

"My  advice,"  said  the  druid,  "is  this:  Open 
two  opposite  doors  in  your  castle;  place  your 
daughter  half-way  between  them;  and  let  the 
two  champions  pass  out,  one  through  one  door, 
and  one  through  the  other.  Whomever  your 
daughter  will  follow,  let  her  be  the  wife  of  that 

The  champions  had  their  own  compact,  that 
the  man  whom  the  young  woman  would  follow 
should  let  the  other  have  three  casts  of  a  spear 
at  him,  and  he  without  right  of  defence;  but  if 
another  would  defend,  he  might  let  him. 

The  knight  brought  his  daughter  to  the  middle 
of  the  chamber,  and  opened  the  doors.  The 
young  woman  went  out  after  Ceadach. 

Ceadach  and  his  wife  went  their  way  then 
together;  and  he  feared  to  stop  at  any  place  till 
he  came  to  a  great  lonesome  forest.  He  went 
to  the  middle  of  the  forest,  built  a  house  there, 
and  lived  with  his  wife  for  a  season. 

One  day  as  Fin  was. walking  near  the  water  at 
Fintra,  he  met  a  strange  creature,  —  a  wom'an 
to  the  waist,  from  the  waist  a  fish.  The  human 
half  was  like  an  old  hag.  When  Fin  stopped 
before  her,  he  greeted  the  hag.  She  returned 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.    465 

the   greeting,    and   asked    him   to  play  chess  for 
a  sentence. 

"I  would,"  answered  Fin,  "if  I  had  my  own 
board  and  chessmen." 

"I  have  a  good  board,"  said  the  fish-hag. 

"If  you  have,"  said  Fin,  "we  will  play;  but  if 
you  win  the  first  game,  I  must  go  for  my  own 
board,  and  you  will  play  the  second  on  that." 

The  hag  consented.  They  played  on  her  chess- 
board, and  the  hag  won  that  game. 

"Well,"  said  Fin,  "I  must  go  for  my  own 
board,  and  do  you  wait  till  I  bring  it." 

"I  will,"  said  the  fish-hag. 

Fin  brought  his  own  board ;  and  they  played, 
and  he  won. 

"Now,"  said  Fin,  "pass  your  sentence  on  me, 
since  you  won  the  first  game." 

"I  will,"  said  the  hag;  "and  I  place  you  under 
sentence  of  weighty  druidic  spells  not  to  eat  two 
meals  off  the  one  table,  nor  to  sleep  two  nights 
in  the  one  bed,  nor  to  pass  out  by  the  door 
through  which  you  came  in,  till  you  bring  me 
the  head  of  the  Red  Ox,  and  an  account  of  what 
took  the  eye  from  the  Doleful  Knight  of  the 
Island,  and  how  he  lost  speech  and  laughter. 
Now  pass  sentence  on  me." 

"You  will  think  it  too  soon  when  you  hear  it," 
said  Fin,  "  but  here  it  is  for  you.  I  place  you 


466  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

under  bonds  of  weighty  druidic  spells  to  stand 
on  the  top  of  that  gable  above  there,  to  have  a 
sheaf  of  oats  fixed  on  the  gable  beyond  you,  and 
to  have  no  earthly  food  while  I  'm  gone,  except 
what  the  wind  will  blow  through  the  eye  of  a 
needle  fixed  in  front  of  you." 

"Hard  is  your  sentence,  O  Fin,"  said  the  fish- 
hag.  "  Forgive  me,  and  I  '11  take  from  your  head 
my  sentence." 

"  Never,"  said  Fin.  "  Go  to  your  place  without 

Before  Fin  departed,  the  fish  hag  had  mounted 
the  gable. 

The  fame  of  the  Red  Ox  had  spread  through 
all  lands  in  the  world,  and  no  man  could  go  near 
him  without  losing  life.  The  Fenians  were 
greatly  unwilling  to  face  the  Red  Ox,  and 
thought  that  no  man  could  match  him,  unless, 
perhaps,  Ceadach. 

Though  they  knew  not  where  Ceadach  was 
living,  nor  where  they  were  likely  to  find  him, 
they  started  in  search  of  that  champion.  They 
played  with  a  ball,  as  they  travelled,  driving  it 
forward  before  them,  knowing  that  if  Ceadach 
saw  the  ball  he  would  give  it  a  blow. 

While  passing  the  forest  where  Ceadach  and 
his  wife,  the  knight's  daughter,  were  hiding, 
tone  of  the  Fenians  gave  the  ball  a  great  blow; 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.    467 

but  as  he  aimed  badly,  the  ball  flew  to  one  side, 
went  far  away,  and  fell  into  the  forest. 

Ceadach  was  walking  away  from  his  house  when 
the  ball  fell,  and  he  saw  it.  He  pulled  down  a 
tree-branch,  and,  giving  a  strong,  direct  blow, 
drove  the  ball  high  in  the  air,  and  out  of  the 

"No  one  struck  that  blow,"  said  the  Fenians, 
"but  Ceadach,  and  he  is  here  surely."  They 
went  then  toward  the  point  from  which  they  had 
seen  the  ball  coming,  and  there  they  found 

"A  thousand  welcomes,  Fin  MacCool,"  said 
Ceadach.  "Where  are  you  going?  " 

"  I  am  under  sentence  to  bring  the  head  of 
the  Red  Ox;  and  'tis  for  it  that  I  am  going: 
but  I  never  can  bring  it  unless  you  assist  me. 
Without  you,  I  cannot  lift  from  my  head  the 
sentence  that  is  on  it." 

"  If  it  lay  with  me,  I  would  go  with  you  gladly; 
but  I  know  that  my  wife  will  not  let  me  leave 
her.  But  do  as  I  tell  you  now.  When  you  come 
to  us  to  eat  dinner,  taste  nothing,  and  when  my 
wife  asks  you  to  eat,  say  that  you  will  not  eat 
till  she  grants  a  request :  if  she  will  not  grant 
it,  leave  the  house,  and  let  all  the  Fenians 
follow;  if  she  grants  you  a  request,  you  are  to  ask 
that  I  go  with  you.  I  know  that  she  will  grant 

468  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

you  any  request,  except  to  take  me  in  your  com- 
pany; for  she  is  in  dread  that  I  may  meet  Red 

They  went  to  the  house;  the  wife  welcomed 
Fin  with  the  others,  and  prepared  dinner.  When 
meat  was  placed  before  Fin,  he  would  not  taste  it. 

"Why  not  eat,  O  King  of  the  Fenians? " 

"  I  have  a  request  to  make.  If  you  grant  it,  I 
will  eat;  if  not,  neither  I  nor  my  men  will  taste 

"Any  request  in  my  power,  I  will  grant,"  said 
she,  "except  one." 

"What  is  that?  "  inquired  Fin. 

"If  you  want  Ceadach  to  go  with  you,  I  '11  not 
grant  that." 

"  'T  is  he  that  I  want,"  answered  Fin. 

"You  '11  not  get  him." 

"Well,  you  may  keep  him,"  said  Fin,  rising 
from  the  table;  and  all  the  men  followed.  Conan 
Maol,  who  was  with  them,  thought  it  hard  to 
leave  the  dinner  untasted,  so  he  took  a  joint  of 
meat  with  him. 

When  Fin  and  the  Fenians  had  gone,  Ceadach 
said  to  his  wife,  "  It  is  a  great  shame  to  us  that 
Fin  and  the  Fenians  have  left  our  house  without 
tasting  food,  and  this  their  first  visit.  Never 
can  I  face  a  man  of  the  Fenians  after  what  has 
happened  this  day."  And  he  talked  till  the  wife 
consented  to  let  him  go  with  them. 

Mac  Cool,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.    469 

Ceadach  then  whistled  after  Fin,  who  came 
back  with  his  men;  and  they  raised  three  shouts 
of  joy  when  they  heard  that  Ceadach  would  go 
with  them.  They  entered  the  house  then;  all  sat 
down  to  dinner,  and  they  needed  it  badly. 

After  dinner,  all  set  out  together,  and  went  to 
Ceadach's  father,  the  King  of  Sorach,  who  was 
very  powerful,  and  had  many  ships  (Fin  and  the 
Fenians  had  no  ships  at  that  time).  Ceadach's 
father  had  received  no  account  of  his  son  from 
the  time  that  he  left  him  at  first,  and  was  rejoiced 
at  his  coming. 

Said  Fin  to  the  King  of  Sorach,  "  I  need  a  ship 
to  bear  me  to  the  land  where  the  Red  Ox  is 

"You  may  take  the  best  ship  I  have,"  said  the 

Fin  chose  the  best  ship,  and  was  going  on 
board  with  his  men  when  Ceadach's  wife  said  to 
him,  "When  coming  back,  you  are  to  raise  black 
sails  if  Ceadach  is  killed,  but  white  sails  if  he  is 

Fin  commanded,  and  the  men  turned  the  prow 
to  the  sea,  and  the  stern  to  land ;  they  raised  the 
great  sweeping  sails,  and  took  their  smoothly- 
polished  ship  past  harbors  with  gently-sloping 
shores,  and  there  the  ship  left  behind  it  pale- 
green  wavelets.  Then  a  mighty  wind  swept 

470  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

through  great  flashing  waves  with  such  force  that 
not  a  nail  in  the  ship  was  left  unheated,  nor  the 
finger  of  a  man  inactive;  and  the  ship  raised 
with  its  sailing  a  proud,  haughty  ridge  in  the 
sea.  When  the  wind  failed,  they  sat  down  with 
their  oars  of  fragrant  beech  or  white  ash,  and 
with  every  stroke  they  sent  the  ship  forward 
three  leagues  through  the  water,  where  fishes, 
seals,  and  monsters  rose  around  them,  making 
music  and  sport,  and  giving  courage  to  the  men; 
and  they  never  stopped  nor  cooled  till  they 
entered  the  chief  port  of  the  land  where  the  Red 
Ox  was  kept. 

When  all  had  landed;  Ceadach  said,  "I  need 
the  fleetest  man  of  the  Fenians  to  help  me  against 
the  Red  Ox;  and  now  tell  me  what  each  of  you 
can  do,  and  how  fast  he  can  run. " 

"Let  out,"  said  one  man,  "twelve  hares  in  a 
field  with  twelve  gaps  in  it,  and  I  will  not  let  a 
hare  out  through  any  gap  of  the  twelve." 

"Take  a  sieve  full  of  chaff,"  said  a  second  man, 
"to  the  top  of  a  mountain;  let  the  chaff  go  out 
with  the  wind;  and  I  will  gather  all  in  again 
before  as  much  as  one  bit  of  it  comes  to  the 

"When  I  run  at  full  speed,"  said  a  third  man, 
"  my  tread  is  so  light  that  the  dry,  withered  grass 
is  not  crushed  underneath  me." 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.    471 

"  Now,  Dyeermud,"  said  Ceadach,  "  I  think  that 
you  were  the  swiftest  of  all  when  I  was  the  guest 
of  Fin  MacCool  and  the  Fenians  of  Erin;  tell 
me,  how  swift  are  you  now?  " 

"I  am  swifter,"  said  Dyeermud,  "than  the 
thought  of  a  woman  when  she  is  thinking  of  two 

"Oh,  you  will  do,"  said  Ceadach;  "you  are  the. 
fleetest  of  the  Fenians;  come  with  me." 

Fin  and  the  Fenians  remained  near  the  ship, 
while  Ceadach  and  Dyeermud  went  off  to  face 
the  Red  Ox. 

The  Red  Ox's  resting-place  was  enclosed  by  a 
wall  and  a  hedge;  outside  was  a  lofty  stone 
pillar;  on  this  pillar  the  Red  Ox  used  to  rub  his 
two  sides.  The  Ox  had  but  one  horn,  and  that 
in  the  middle  of  his  forehead.  With  that  horn, 
which  was  four  feet  in  length,  he  let  neither  fly, 
wasp,  gnat,  nor  biting  insect  come  near,  and 
whatever  creature  came  toward  him,  he  sniffed 
from  a  distance. 

When  he  sniffed  the  two  champions,  he  rushed 
at  them.  Ceadach  bounded  toward  the  pillar. 

Dyeermud  took  shelter  at  the  hedge,  and  waited 
to  see  what  would  happen. 

Ceadach  ran  round  the  pillar,  and  the  Red  Ox 
ran  after  him.  Three  days  and  three  nights  did 
they  run;  such  was  the  speed  of  the  two  that 

472  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Dyeermud  never  caught  sight  of  them  during 
that  time,  nor  did  they  have  sight  of  each  other : 
the  Red  Ox  followed  by  scent.  Near  the  close 
of  the  third  day,  when  both  were  growing  tired, 
the  Ox,  seeing  Ceadach,  stopped  for  an  instant 
to  run  across  and  pierce  him  with  his  horn. 
Dyeermud  got  a  glimpse  of  the  Ox,  then  rose  in 
.the  air  like  a  bird,  split  the  forehead  of  the  Ox 
with  one  blow,  and  stretched  him. 

"My  love  on  your  blow,"  said  Ceadach;  "and 
it  was  time  for  you  to  give  it." 

"Purblindness  and  blindness  to  me,"  replied 
Dyeermud,  "  if  I  saw  the  Ox  till  that  instant." 

Both  were  now  joyful;  for  they  had  the  head  to 
take  with  them. 

"If  Fin  and  his  men  had  this  carcass,"  said 
Dyeermud,  "  it  would  give  them  beef  for  many  a 

"Well,  Dyeermud,"  asked  Ceadach,  "how  much 
of  the  Ox  can  you  carry? " 

"I  think  I  can  take  one  quarter,  with  the 

"  If  you  can  do  that,"  said  Ceadach,  "I  '11  take 
the  rest  of  the  carcass  myself. " 

Cutting  off  one  quarter,  he  thrust  through  it  the 
point  of  the  horn,  put  the  horn  on  Dyeermud's 
shoulder,  with  the  head  and  quarter  before  and 
behind  him.  Ceadach  took  the  other  three  quar- 

Mac  Cool,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.   473 

ters  himself.  Before  they  had  gone  half  the  way 
to  the  vessel,  Dyeermud  was  tired,  and  Ceadach 
had  to  take  that  quarter  as  well  as  his  own  three; 
the  head  was  as  much  as  Dyeermud  could  carry. 

When  the  two  men  appeared  at  the  ship,  all 
rejoiced  greatly,  and  welcomed  them.  Fin  took 
the  borabu  then,  and  sounded  it  from  joy;  this 
sound  could  be  heard  through  the  world.  As 
the  report  had  gone  to  all  regions  that  Fin  was 
under  sentence  to  kill  the  Red  Ox,  when  Red 
Face  heard  the  borabu,  he  said  to  himself,  "That 
is  Fin;  the  Red  Ox  is  killed;  no  one  could  kill 
him  but  Ceadach,  and  Ceadach  is  where  the 
borabu  is."  Red  Face  had  the  power  of  druidic 
spells;  so  he  rose  in  the  air,  and  soon  dropped 
down  near  the  Fenians,  and  was  unseen  till  he 
stood  there  before  them. 

Said  Red  Face  to  Ceadach,  "  'T  is  many  a  day 
that  I  am  following  you;  you  must  stand  your 
ground  now. " 

"What  you  ask  is  but  fair,"  answered  Ceadach. 

Red  Face  went  to  the  distance  of  a  spear's  cast, 
and  hurled  his  spear  at  Ceadach ;  but  Dyeermud 
sprang  up  and  caught  it  on  his  heel.  Red  Face 
made  a  second  cast.  Goll  MacMorna  raised  his 
hand  to  stop  the  spear;  but  it  went  through  his 
hand,  and,  going  farther,  pierced  Ceadach,  and 
killed  him. 

474  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Red  Face  then  vanished;  and  no  man  knew 
when  he  vanished,  or  to  what  place  he  went. 

When  Ceadach  fell,  the  Fenians  raised  seven 
loud  cries  of  grief  that  drove  the  badgers  from 
the  glens  in  which  they  were  sleeping. 

Said  Dyeermud  to  Fin,  "  Chew  your  thumb  to 
know  how  we  can  bring  Ceadach  to  life." 

Fin  chewed  his  thumb  from  the  skin  to  the 
flesh,  from  the  flesh  to  the  bone,  from  the  bone 
to  the  marrow,  from  the  marrow  to  the  juice,  and 
then  he  knew  that  there  was  a  sow  with  three 
pigs  in  the  Eastern  World,  and  if  blood  from  one 
of  these  pigs  were  put  on  Ceadach's  wound,  he 
would  rise  up  well  and  healthy. 

Fin  took  some  men,  and,  leaving  others  to  watch 
over  Ceadach,  set  sail  for  the  Eastern  World,  and 
never  stopped  till  he  anchored  in  a  port  near  the 
place  where  the  sow  and  her  pigs  were. 

Fin  knew  all  paths  to  the  lair  of  the  sow;  and 
they  went  to  it  straightway.  When  they  came, 
she  was  away  hunting  food;  so  they  took  the  three 
pigs,  hurried  back  to  the  vessel,  set  sail  in  all 
haste,  and  were  soon  out  at  sea.  When  the  sow 
came  back  to  her  lair,  it  was  empty.  Then  she 
found  the  scent  of  the  men,  followed  it  to  the 
sea,  and  swam  after  the  ship. 

When  the  ship  had  made  one-third  of  the 
voyage,  the  sow  came  in  sight,  and  was  soon  near 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.     475 

the  stern.  Fin  ordered  his  men  to  throw  out  one 
pig  of  the  three.  The  sow  took  the  pig  in  her 
mouth,  turned  back,  swam  home,  and  left  it  in 
her  lair.  She  turned  a  second  time,  followed  the 
ship,  and  such  was  her  speed  and  her  venom, 
that  little  more  than  one-half  of  the  voyage  was 
over  when  the  sow  was  in  sight  again.  When 
near  the  ship,  they  threw  her  the  second  pig. 
The  mother  went  back  to  her  lair  with  the  second 
pig,  left  it  with  the  first,  and  rushed  after  the 
ship  a  third  time.  Land  was  in  sight  when  they 
saw  the  sow  raging  on  after  them. 

"  Oh,  we  are  lost !"  cried  the  Fenians. 

Dyeermud  then  took  a  bow  with  an  arrow,  and, 
resting  the  bow  on  another  man's  shoulder,  aimed 
so  truly  at  the  widely-opened  mouth  of  the  sow, 
that  the  arrow,  going  in  through  her  mouth, 
pierced  her  blood  veins,  and  in  no  long  time  she 
turned  her  back  downward  and  died. 

They  landed  in  safety,  bled  the  pig;  and  when 
they  let  some  of  the  blood  into  Ceadach's  spear- 
wound,  he  sprang  up  alive. 

When  Ceadach  was  restored,  Fin  blew  the 
borabu,  and  the  Fenians  raised  seven  shouts  of 
joy  that  were  heard  throughout  the  whole  king- 
dom. Then  they  set  sail  for  Sorach. 

Ceadach's  wife  thought  her  husband  long  in 
coming,  and  was  watching  and  waiting  every 

476  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

day  for  him.  At  last  she  saw  the  ship  with  white 
sails,  and  was  glad. 

Fin  and  his  men  landed,  but  left  Ceadach  on 

"Where  is  Ceadach?  "  asked  the  wife,  running 
out  to  meet  Fin. 

"  He  is  dead  on  the  vessel,"  said  Fin. 

"Why  did  you  not  raise  black  sails  as  you 
promised  ? " 

"  We  were  so  troubled  that  we  forgot  it. " 

"  It  was  well  for  you  to  forget ;  for  if  you  had 
raised  black  sails,  I  should  have  drowned  every 
man  of  you." 

"Ceadach  is  living  and  well;  have  no  fear," 
said  Fin,  and  he  sounded  the  borabu. 

Ceadach  landed.  His  father  and  wife  were  so 
glad  to  see  him  that  they  feasted  Fin  and  the 
Fenians  for  seven  days  and  seven  nights. 

Fin  told  Ceadach's  wife  of  all  their  adventures, 
and  what  struggles  they  had  in  bringing  her  hus- 
band to  life.  She  was  glad;  for  the  trouble  with 
Red  Face  was  ended. 

Ceadach  went  now  with  Fin  to  visit  the  Dole- 
ful Knight  of  the  Island;  and  they  never  halted 
nor  stopped  till  they  came  to  his  castle. 

Fin  found  the  knight  sitting  at  a  great  heavy 
table,  his  head  on  his  hand,  his  elbow  on  the 
table,  into  which  it  had  worn  a  deep  hole;  a 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.    477 

stream  of  tears  was  flowing  from  his  eye  to  the 
table,  and  from  the  table  to  the  floor. 

"A  hundred  thousand  welcomes  to  you,  Fin 
MacCool,"  said  the  knight;  and  he  began  to  weep 
more  than  ever.  "  I  was  once  in  prosperity,  and 
at  that  time  this  was  a  pleasant  place  for  a  good 
man  to  visit;  but  now  it  is  different.  I  have  food 
in  plenty,  but  no  one  to  cook  it." 

"  If  that 's  all  your  trouble,"  said  Fin,  "we  can 
cure  it." 

Fin's  men  were  not  slow  in  preparing  a  dinner. 
When  the  dinner  was  eaten,  the  knight  turned  to 
Fin  and  inquired,  "Why  have  you  come  to  my 
castle,  Chief  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin?  " 

"I  will  tell  you,"  said  Fin.  Then  he  related 
his  story,  and  all  his  adventures  with  Ceadach. 

"Well,"  said  the  knight,  "it  will  shorten  my 
life  by  seven  years  to  give  the  tale  of  my  suf- 
ferings;  for  they  will  be  as  fresh  to  me  now,  as 
when  first  I  went  through  them.  But  as  you  are 
under  bonds  to  know  them,  I  will  tell  you. 

"  I  was  here  in  wealth  and  prosperity,  myself 
and  my  three  sons.  We  used  to  hunt  beasts  and 
birds  with  our  dogs  when  it  pleased  us.  On  a 
May  morning  a  hare  came,  and  frisked  before  my 
hall-door.  Myself  and  my  three  sons  then  fol- 
lowed her  with  dogs,  and  followed  all  day  till  the 
height  of  the  evening.  Then  we  saw  the  hare 

478  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

enter  an  old  fairy  fort.  The  opening  was  wide; 
we  were  able  to  follow.  In  we  rushed,  all  of 
us,  and  the  next  thing  we  saw  was  a  fine  roomy 
building.  We  went  in,  looked  around  for  the 
hare,  but  saw  not  a  sight  of  her.  There  was  no 
one  within  but  an  old  man  and  woman.  We 
were  not  long  inside  till  three  gruagachs  came, 
each  with  a  wild  boar  on  his  shoulders.  They 
threw  the  wild  boars  on  the  floor,  and  told  me 
to  clean  them,  and  cook  them  for  dinner.  One 
of  my  sons  fell  to  cleaning  a  boar;  but  for  every 
hair  that  he  took  from  him,  ten  new  ones  came 
out,  so  the  sooner  he  stopped  work  the  better. 

"Then  one  of  the  old  gruagach's  sons  placed 
the  boars  in  a  row,  the  head  of  the  one  near  the 
tail  of  the  other,  and,  taking  a  reed,  blew  once, 
the  hair  was  gone  from  all  three;  twice,  the 
three  boars  were  dressed;  a  third  time,  all  were 
swept  into  one  caldron. 

"When  the  meal  was  cooked  and  ready,  a  grua- 
gach  brought  two  spits  to  me,  one  of  dull  wood, 
the  other  formed  of  sharp  iron.  The  old  man 
asked,  '  Which  will  you  choose  ? ' 

"  I  chose  the  sharp  iron  spit,  went  to  the  cal- 
dron, and  thrust  in  the  spit ;  but  if  I  did,  I  raised 
only  a  poor,  small  bit  of  meat,  mostly  bone. 
That  was  what  I  and  my  three  sons  had  for 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.    479 

"  After  dinner,  the  old  man  said,  '  Your  sons 
may  perform  now  a  feat  for  amusement. ' 

"  In  three  rooms  were  three  cross-beams,  as 
high  from  the  floor  as  a  man's  throat.  In  the 
middle  of  each  beam  was  a  hole.  Through  this 
hole  passed  a  chain,  with  a  loop  at  each  end  of 
it.  In  front  of  the  hole  on  each  side  of  the 
beam  was  a  knife,  broad  and  sharp.  One  loop 
of  each  chain  was  put  on  the  neck  of  a  son  of 
mine,  and  one  on  the  neck  of  a  gruagach.  Then 
each  of  the  six  was  striving  to  save  his  own 
throat,  and  to  cut  off  the  head  of  the  other  man; 
but  the  gruagachs  pulled  my  three  sons  to  the 
cross-beams,  and  took  the  three  heads  off  them. 

"Then  they  dressed  them,  and  boiled  them  for 
supper.  When  that  supper  was  ready,  they 
struggled  to  force  me  to  eat  some,  but  could 
not.  Next  they  threw  me  across  the  broad  table, 
plucked  out  one  eye  from  my  head,  thrust  a  light 
in  the  socket,  and  made  me  lie  there,  and  serve 
as  a  candlestick.  In  the  morning,  I  was  flung 
out  through  the  door,  while  the  gruagach  cried 
after  me,  'You'll  not  come  to  this  castle  a 
second  time!  ' 

"Have  you  seen  that  hare  since?"  inquired 

"  I  have,  for  she  comes  each  May  morning,  and 
that  renews  and  gives  strength  to  my  sorrow. " 

480  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"To-morrow  will  be  Mayday;  come  with  me, 
and  we  '11  hunt  her,"  said  Ceadach: 

"I  will  not,"  said  the  Knight  of  the  Island. 

The  hare  came  after  breakfast  next  morning, 
and  halted  in  front  of  the  castle.  The  knight  was 
unwilling  to  hunt,  but  still  yielded  to  Ceadach, 
and  followed  with  the  others. 

Time  after  time,  they  came  close  to  the  hare, 
but  never  could  catch  her.  At  last,  in  the  height 
of  the  evening,  when  nearing  the  same  fairy 
fort,  the  hound  Bran  snapped  at  the  haunch 
of  the  hare,  and  took  a  full  bite  from  her.  All 
passed  through  the  entrance,  found  the  house, 
and  no  person  inside  but  an  old  man  and  wo- 
man. The  old  woman  was  lying  in  bed,  and  she 

"  Have  you  seen  a  hare  in  this  house?  "  inquired 

"I  have  not,"  said  the  old  man. 

Ceadach  saw  traces  of  blood  on  the  bed,  and 
went  toward  the  old  woman,  who  was  covered  up 
closely;  raising  the  clothes,  he  said,  "Maybe  't  is 
here  that  the  hare  is." 

The  old  woman  was  covered  with  blood,  and 
wounded  in  the  very  same  way  as  the  hare. 
They  knew  then  who  was  the  cause  of  misfortune 
to  the  Knight  of  the  Island,  and  who  made  the 
visits  each  year  on  May.  morning. 

Mac  Cool,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.     481 

They  were  not  long  in  the  house  when  the 
gruagachs,  the  sons  of  the  old  man,  came  in, 
each  with  a  wild  boar  on  his  shoulders.  Seeing 
the  Knight  of  the  Island,  they  laughed,  and  said, 
"We  thought  you  had  enough  of  this  place  the 
first  time  that  you  came  here." 

"I  saw  more  than  I  wished  to  see,"  said  the 
Knight  of  the  Island;  "but  I  had  to  come  this 

"Have  you  any  man  to  cook  dinner  for  us?" 
asked  the  old  gruagach  of  Fin. 

"I'll  do  that  myself,"  put  in  Ceadach,  who 
turned  to  one  of  the  brothers,  and  asked,  "Where 
is  your  reed;  I  must  use  it." 

The  reed  was  brought.  Ceadach  blew  once, 
the  boars  were  clean;  twice,  they  were  dressed, 
and  ready;  thrice,  they  were  in  the  caldron. 

When  the  spits  were  brought,  Ceadach  took 
the  dull  wooden  spit,  thrust  it  into  the  pot,  and 
took  up  all  that  was  in  there. 

Fin,  Ceadach,  and  the  knight  ate  to  their  own 
satisfaction;  then  they  invited  the  old  gruagach 
and  his  three  sons  to  dinner. 

"What  amusement  have  you  in  this  place?" 
asked  Fin,  later  in  the  evening. 

"We  have  nothing,"  said  the  old  gruagach  and 
his  sons. 

"Where  are  your  chains?  "  asked  Ceadach. 

482  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"We  make  no  use  of  them  now,"  said  the 
young  gruagachs. 

"You  must  bring  them,"  said  Ceadach. 

The  chains  were  brought,  drawn  through  the 
cross-beams,  and  three  loops  of  them  put  on  the 
necks  of  the  gruagachs.  No  matter  what  strength 
was  in  the  three  brothers,  nor  how  they  struggled, 
Ceadach  brought  their  throats  to  the  knives,  and 
took  the  three  heads  off  them.  Next  they  were 
boiled  in  the  caldron,  as  the  knight's  three  sons 
had  been  boiled  the  first  time.  Then  Ceadach 
seized  the  old  gruagach,  flung  him  across  the 
broad  table,  plucked  out  one  eye  from  his  head, 
and  fixed  a  light  in  the  empty  socket. 

At  sight  of  what  the  gruagachs  passed  through, 
the  Doleful  Knight  of  the  Island  let  one  roaring 
laugh  out  of  him,  his  first  laugh  in  seven  years. 

Next  morning  Ceadach,  pointing  to  the  Knight 
of  the  Island,  said  to  the  old  gruagach,  "  Unless 
you  bring  this  man's  three  sons  to  life,  I  will 
take  your  own  head  from  you." 

The  bones  of  the  three  sons  were  in  three 
heaps  of  dust  outside  the  door.  The  gruagach 
took  a  rod  of  enchantment,  and  struck  the  bones. 
The  three  sons  of  the  knight  rose  up  as  well  and 
strong  as  ever,  and  went  home.  The  Knight 
of  the  Island  gave  a  feast  to  Fin  and  Ceadach. 
After  that  Fin,  with  his  men  and  Ceadach,  sailed 

Mac  Coo  I,  Ceadach  Og,  and  Fish- Hag.     483 

back  to  the  King  of  Sorach.  Ceadach  remained 
with  his  wife  and  father.  Fin  went  to  the  har- 
bor of  Fintra,  taking  with  him  the  head  of  the 
Red  Ox,  and  the  story  of  the  Doleful  Knight,  to 
the  fish-hag. 

"Have  you  the  head  of  the  Red  Ox?"  asked 
the  hag. 

"I  have,"  answered  Fin. 

"You  will  give  it  to  me,"  said  the  hag. 

"I  will  not,"  answered  Fin.  "If  I  was  bound 
to  bring  it,  I  was  not  bound  to  give  it." 

When  she  heard  that,  the  hag  dropped  to  the 
earth,  and  became  a  few  bones. 


WHEN  Fin  MacCool  and  the  Fenians  of  Erin 
were  at  Fintra,  they  went  hunting  one 
day;  and  the  man  who  killed  the  first  deer  was 
Dyeermud.  When  the  hunt  was  over,  they  re- 
turned to  the  place  where  the  first  deer  was 
started,  and  began,  as  was  usual,  to  prepare  the 
day's  feast.  While  preparing  the  feast,  they 
saw  a  ship  sailing  into  the  harbor,  with  only 
one  woman  on  board.  The  Fenians  were  greatly 
surprised  at  the  speed  of  the  vessel;  and  Dyeer- 
mud said  to  Fin,  "  I  will  go  and  see  who  is  the 
woman  coming  in  that  vessel." 

"You  killed  the  first  deer,"  replied  Fin,  "and 
the  honors  of  the  feast  on  this  day  are  yours, 
I  myself  will  go  down  and  see  who  the  woman 

The  woman  cast  anchor,  sprang  ashore,  and 
saluted  Fin,  when  he  came  to  the  strand.  Fin 
returned  the  salute,  and,  after  a  while,  she  asked, 
"Will  you  play  a  game  of  chess  for  a  sentence? " 

"I  will,"  answered  Fin. 

Mac  Cool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     485 

They  played,  and  she  won. 

"What  is  your  sentence  on  me?  "  inquired  Fin. 

"  I  sentence  you,  under  bonds  of  heavy  enchant- 
ment," said  she,  "to  take  me  for  your  wife." 

Fin  had  to  marry  the  woman.  After  a  time, 
she  said,  "  I  must  leave  you  now  for  a  season." 

Fin  drove  his  sword  then,  with  one  mighty 
blow,  into  a  tree-stump,  and  said,  "  Call  your  son 
Faolan  [little  wolf],  and  never  send  him  to  me 
until  he  is  able  to  draw  the  sword  from  this 

She  took  the  stump  with  her,  and  sailed  away 
homeward.  She  nursed  her  son  for  only  three 
days,  and  preserved  the  rest  of  the  milk  for  a 
different  use.  The  boy  was  called  Faolan,  was 
trained  well  in  the  use  of  all  arms,  and  when  ten 
years  of  age,  he  was  skilled  beyond  any  master. 
One  day  there  was  a  game  of  hurley,  and  Faolan 
played  alone,  against  twenty  one  others.  The 
rule  of  that  game  was  that  whoever  won  was 
to  get  three  blows  of  his  club  on  each  one  who 
played  against  him.  Faolan  gave  three  blows 
to  each  of  the  twenty -one  men;  among  them  was 
one  who  was  very  much  hurt  by  the  blows,  and 
he  began  to  say  harsh  words  to  Faolan,  and 
added,  "You  don't  know  your  own  father." 

Faolan  was  greatly  offended  at  this.  He  went 
home  to  his  mother,  in  tears,  and  asked,  "Who 

486  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

is  my  father?  I  will  never  stop  nor  stay  till  I 
find  him." 

"  What  caused  your  vexation  ?  "  asked  the 
mother.  "Why  do  you  ask  such  a  question  at 
this  time? " 

Faolan  told  her  the  words  of  the  player.  At 
last  she  said,  "Your  father  is  Fin  MacCool, 
Chief  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin;  but  you  are  not  to 
be  sent  to  him  till  you  can  draw  his  sword  from 
the  tree-stump  into  which  he  drove  it  with  one 

"Show  me  the  sword  and  the  tree-stump,"  said 

She  took  him  then  to  the  stump.  With  one 
pull,  he  drew  out  the  sword. 

"Prepare  me  food  for  the  road,"  said  Faolan. 
"I  will  go  to  my  father." 

The  mother  made  ready  three  loaves  of  bread, 
kneaded  them  with  the  milk  which  she  had  saved, 
and  baked  them. 

"My  son,"  said  she,  "do  not  refuse  bread  on 
the  journey  to  any  one  whom  you  meet ;  give  it 
from  these  loaves,  even  should  you  meet  your 
worst  enemy." 

She  took  down  a  sword  then,  gave  it  to  him, 
and  said,  "This  was  your  grandfather's  sword; 
keep  it,  and  use  it  till  a  better  one  comes  to 

Mac  Cool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     487 

Faolan  took  a  blessing  of  his  mother,  set  out 
on  his  journey,  and  was  walking  always,  till  he 
came  to  a  harbor  where  he  found  a  ship  bound 
for  Erin.  He  went  on  board,  and  was  not  sail- 
ing long,  when  a  venomous  hound  rose  up  in  the 
sea,  and  cast  such  high  waves  at  the  vessel  as  to 
throw  it  back  a  long  distance. 

Remembering  his  mother's  advice  about  shar- 
ing the  bread,  Faolan  threw  one  loaf  to  the 
hound.  This  seemed  to  appease  him.  He  had 
not  sailed  much  further,  when  the  hound  rose 
again.  Faolan  threw  out  the  second  loaf;  and 
the  beast  disappeared  for  a  while,  but  rose  the 
third  time,  and  drove  back  the  vessel.  Faolan 
threw  the  third  loaf;  and,  after  disappearing  the 
third  time,  the  hound  rose  the  fourth  time. 
Having  nothing  to  give,  Faolan  seized  a  brazen 
ball  which  his  mother  had  given  him,  and,  hurl- 
ing it  at  the  hound  with  good  aim,  killed  him  on 
the  spot.  As  soon  as  the  hound  fell,  there  rose 
up  a  splendid  youth,  who  came  on  board,  and, 
shaking  Faolan's  hand,  said,  — 

"I  thank  you;  you  delivered  me  from  enchant- 
ment. I  am  your  mother's  brother;  and  there 
was  nothing  to  free  me  till  I  ate  three  loaves 
kneaded  with  your  mother's  milk,  and  was  then 
killed  by  you  with  that  brazen  ball.  You  are 
near  Ventry  Strand  now;  among  the  first  men 

488  Hero-  Tales  of  Ireland. 

you  meet  will  be  your  own  father.  You  will 
know  him  by  his  dress;  and  when  you  meet  him, 
kneel  down  and  ask  for  his  blessing.  As  I  have 
nothing  else  to  give,  here  is  a  ring  to  wear  on 
your  finger,  and  whenever  you  look  at  it  you  will 
feel  neither  cold,  thirst,  nor  hunger." 

When  they  landed,  the  uncle  went  his  own  way 
and  vanished.  Faolan  saw  champions  playing 
on  the  strand,  throwing  a  great  weighty  sledge. 

Knowing  Fin  from  his  mother's  description, 
he  knelt  down  at  his  feet,  and  asked  for  his 

"If  you  are  a  son  of  mine,"  said  Fin,  "you  are 
able  to  hurl  this  sledge." 

"He  is  too  young,"  said  Dyeermud,  "to  throw 
such  a  weight ;  and  it  is  a  shame  for  you  to  ask 
him  to  throw  it. " 

The  youth  then,  growing  angry,  caught  the 
sledge,  and  hurled  it  seven  paces  beyond  the 
best  man  of  the  Fenians. 

Fin  shook  hands  with  the  youth;  and  his  heart 
grew  big  at  having  such  a  son.  Dyeermud  shook 
his  hand  also,  and  swore  that  as  long  as  he  lived 
he  would  be  to  him  a  true  comrade. 

When  dinner-time  came,  Fin  bade  Faolan  sit 
down  at  his  right  hand,  where  Conan  Maol,  son 
of  Morna,  sat  usually.  Fin  gave  this  place  to 
Conan  to  keep  him  in  humor.  Conan  grew 

MacCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     489 

enraged  now,  and  said,  "  It  is  great  impudence 
for  a  stripling  to  sit  in  my  place." 

"I  know  not  who  you  are,"  said  Faolan,  "but 
from  what  I  hear  you  must  be  Conan  Maol,  who 
has  never  a  good  word  for  any  man ;  and  I  would 
break  your  head  on  the  wall,  but  I  don't  wish  to 
annoy  people  present." 

It  was  a  custom  of  the  Fenians  in  eating  to 
set  aside  every  bone  that  had  marrow  for  Oscar, 
and  as  Faolan  had  a  thick  marrow-bone  in  his 
hand,  he  began  to  pick  out  the  marrow,  and  eat 
it.  This  enraged  Oscar,  and  he  said,  "  You  must 
put  that  bone  aside  as  the  others  put  their  bones; 
that  is  my  due,  and  I  will  have  it." 

"As  the  meat  is  mine,"  said  Faolan,  "so  is  the 

Oscar  snatched  at  the  youth,  and  caught  the 
bone  by  one  end.  Faolan  held  the  other  end. 
Both  pulled  till  they  broke  the  bone,  then,  seizing 
each  other,  they  went  outside  for  a  struggle.  As 
the  two  were  so  nearly  related,  the  other  men 
stopped  them.  Fin  took  Oscar  aside  then,  and 
asked,  "How  long  could  you  live  if  we  let  the 
youth  keep  his  grip  on  you  ?  " 

"  If  he  kept  his  grip  with  the  same  strength,  I 
could  not  live  five  minutes  longer." 

Fin  took  Faolan  aside  then,  and  asked  the 
same  question. 

490  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  I  could  live  for  twelve  months,  if  he  squeezed 
me  no  tighter. " 

The  two  then  kept  peace  with  each  other.  All 
were  very  fond  of  Faolan,  especially  Dyeermud, 
who  was  a  good,  loyal  comrade;  and  he  warned 
Faolan  to  distrust  and  avoid  Grainne,  Fin's 
wife,  as  much  as  he  could.  The  youth  was  learn 
ing,  meanwhile,  to  practise  feats  of  activity  and 
bravery.  At  the  end  of  twelve  months,  the 
Fenians  were  setting  out  on  a  distant  hunt,  for 
which  they  had  long  been  preparing.  On  the 
eve  of  the  hunt,  Grainne  dropped  on  her  knees 
before  Fin,  and  begged  him  to  leave  Faolan  with 
her  for  company,  until  he  and  the  rest  would 
return.  Fin  consented,  and  Faolan  stayed  with 

When  all  the  others  had  gone  to  the  great 
hunt,  Faolan  and  Grainne  went  also  to  hunt  in 
the  neighborhood.  They  did  not  go  far,  and 
returned.  After  dinner,  Grainne  asked  Faolan 
would  he  play  a  game  of  chess  for  a  small  sen- 
tence. He  said  that  he  would.  They  played, 
and  he  won. 

"What  is  your  sentence  on  me?"  asked 

"I  have  no  sentence  at  this  time,"  replied 

They  played  again,  and  she  won. 

Mac  Cool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     491 

"  Now  put  your  sentence  on  me,"  said  the 

"You  will  think  it  soon  enough  when  you 
hear  it.  You  are  not  to  eat  two  meals  off  the 
same  table,  nor  sleep  two  nights  on  the  same 
bed,  till  you  bring  me  the  tallow  of  the  three 
oxen  on  Sliav  Sein  [Mountain  of  Happiness]." 

When  he  heard  this  sentence,  he  went  off, 
threw  himself  face  downward  on  his  bed,  and 
remained  there  without  eating  or  drinking  till 
the  Fenians  came  back  from  the  hunt.  Fin  and 
Dyeermud,  not  seeing  Faolan  when  they  came, 
went  in  search  of  him. 

"  Have  you  found  Foalan  ?  "  asked  Dyeermud 
of  Fin,  when  he  met  him  soon  after. 

"I  have  not,"  answered  Fin. 

Dyeermud  then  went  to  see  if  he  could  find 
Faolan  in  bed.  As  the  door  of  his  chamber  was 
fastened,  and  no  one  gave  answer,  Dyeermud 
forced  it,  and  found  Faolan  on  his  face  in  the 
bed.  After  they  had  greeted  each  other,  Faolan 
told  of  the  trouble  that  was  on  him. 

"I  gave  you  warning  against  Grainne,"  said 
Dyeermud;  "but  did  you  win  any  game  of  her?  " 

"  I  did;  but  have  put  no  sentence  on  her  yet." 

"I  am  glad,"  answered  Dyeermud;  "and  let 
me  frame  the  sentence.  I  swear  by  my  sword 
to  be  loyal  to  you;  and  where  you  fall,  I  will 

492  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

fall  also.  But  be  cheerful,  and  come  to  the 

They  went  together,  and  Fin,  seeing  them,  was 
glad.  He  knew,  however,  that  something  had 
happened  to  Faolan.  Dyeermud  went  to  Fin, 
and  told  him  of  the  mishap  to  the  youth.  Fin 
was  troubled  at  what  had  come  on  his  son. 

"I  have  sworn,"  said  Dyeermud,  "to  follow 
Faolan  wherever  he  may  be." 

"I  will  send  with  him,"  said  Fin,  "the  best 
man  of  the  Fenians." 

Dyeermud,  Oscar,  and  Goll,  son  of  Morna, 
were  summoned. 

"What  is  your  greatest  feat?"  inquired  Fin 
of  Goll. 

"  If  I  were  to  stand  in  the  middle  of  a  field 
with  my  sword  in  my  hand  on  the  rainiest  day 
that  ever  rose,  I  could  keep  my  head  dry  with 
my  sword,  not  for  that  day  alone,  but  for  a  day 
and  a  year,"  answered  Goll. 

"That  is  a  good  feat,"  said  Fin.  "What  is 
your  greatest  feat,  Oscar?" 

"If  I  open  a  bag  filled  with  feathers  on  a 
mountain-top  of  a  stormy  day,  and  let  the  feathers 
fly  with  the  wind,  the  last  feather  will  barely 
be  out  of  the  bag,  when  I  will  have  every  feather 
of  them  back  into  the  bag  again." 

"That   is   a   very   good   feat,"  answered    Fin, 

MacCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     493 

"but  it  is  not  enough  yet.  Now,  Dyeermud, 
what  is  your  feat  of  swiftness ?" 

"If  I  were  put  on  a  space  of  seven  hundred 
acres,  and  each  acre  with  a  hedge  around  it,  and 
there  were  seven  hundred  gaps  in  the  hedge  of 
each  acre,  and  seven  hundred  hares  were  put  on 
each  acre  of  the  seven  hundred,  I  would  not  let 
one  hare  out  of  the  seven  hundred  acres  for  a  day 
and  a  year. " 

"That  is  a  great  feat,"  remarked  Fin;  "that 
will  do." 

"Chew  your  thumb,  O  Fin,"  said  Dyeermud, 
"and  tell  me  if  it  is  fated  to  us  to  come  back 
from  the  journey?" 

Fin  chewed  his  thumb.  "  You  will  come 
back ;  but  the  journey  will  be  a  hard  and  a  long 
one:  you  will  be  ankle  deep  in  your  own  blood." 

Dyeermud  went  to  Faolan,  and  told  him  what 
sentence  to  put  upon  Grainne. 

On  the  following  day,  Fin  led  Grainne  forth  for 
her  sentence;  and  Faolan  said,  "You  are  to  stand 
on  the  top  of  Sliav  lolar  [Mount  Eagle],  till  I 
•  come  back  to  Fintra;  you  are  to  hold  in  your  hand 
a  fine  needle;  you  are  to  have  no  drink  saving 
what  rain  you  can  suck  through  the  eye  of  that 
needle,  no  food  except  what  oats  will  be  blown 
through  the  eye  of  that  very  needle  from  a  sheaf 
on  Sliav  Varhin;  and  Dyeermud  will  give  three 
blows  of  a  flail  to  the  sheaf  to  loosen  the  grain." 

494  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Faolan  and  Dyeermud  set  out  on  their  journey. 
They  travelled  three  days,  and  saw  no  house  in 
which  they  could  rest  for  the  night. 

"When  we  find  a  house,"  said  Dyeermud,  "we 
will  have  from  the  people  a  lodging,  either  with 
their  good  will,  or  in  spite  of  them." 

"I  will  help  you  in  that,"  said  Faolan. 

On  the  evening  of  the  fourth  day,  a  large  white- 
fronted  castle  appeared  in  the  distance.  They 
went  toward  it,  and  knocked  at  the  door.  A 
fine  young  woman  welcomed  them  kindly,  and 
kissed  Faolan.  "You  and  I,"  said  she,  "were 
born  at  the  same  hour,  and  betrothed  at  our  birth. 
Your  mother  married  Fin  to  rescue  her  brothers, 
your  uncles,  from  the  bonds  of  enchantment." 

They  sat  down  to  eat  and  drink,  the  young 
woman,  Dyeermud,  and  Faolan;  they  were  not 
long  eating  when  in  came  four  champions,  all 
torn,  cut,  and  bleeding.  When  Dyeermud  saw 
these,  he  started  up,  and  seized  his  sword. 

"Have  no  fear,"  said  the  young  woman  to 

"We  are  returning  from  battle  with  a  wild  hag 
in  the  neighborhood,"  said  the  four  champions. 
"  She  is  trying  to  take  our  land  from  us ;  and 
this  is  the  seventh  year  that  we  are  battling  with 
the  hag.  All  of  her  warriors  that  we  kill  rh  the 
daytime,  she  raises  at  night;  and  we  have  to 
fight  them  again  the  next  day." 

MdcCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     495 

"  No  man  killed  by  my  sword  revives ;  and  these 
will  not,  if  I  kill  them,"  said  Dyeermud. 

"They  would  revive  after  your  sword,"  said 
the  four  champions. 

"Do  you  stay  at  home  to-morrow,"  said  Dyeer- 
mud ;  "  Faolan  and  I  will  give  battle  to  the  hag 
and  her  forces;  no  one  whom  we  slay  will  trouble 
you  hereafter." 

The  four  champions  agreed,  and  gave  every 
direction  how  to  find  the  wild  hag  and  her  army. 
Faolan  and  Dyeermud  went  to  the  field;  one 
began  at  one  end,  and  one  at  the  other,  and 
fought  till  they  met  in  the  middle  at  sunset,  and 
slew  all  the  hag's  warriors. 

"Go  back  to  the  castle,"  said  Faolan  to  Dyeer- 
mud; "I  will  rest  here  to-night,  and  see  what 
gives  life  to  the  corpses." 

"I  will  stay,"  replied  Dyeermud,  "and  you 
may  return." 

"No,  I  will  stay  here,"  said  Faolan;  "if  I 
want  help,  I  will  run  to  the  castle." 

Dyeermud  went  back  to  the  castle.  About 
midnight,  Faolan  heard  the  voice  of  a  man  in  the 
air  just  above  him.  "Is  there  anyone  living?" 
asked  the  voice.  Faolan,  with  a  bound,  grasped 
the  man,  and,  drawing  him  down  with  one  hand, 
pierced  him  through  with  a  sword  in  his  other 
hand.  The  man  fell  dead;  and  then,  instead  of 

496  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

the  old  man  that  he  seemed  at  first,  he  rose  up 
a  fresh  young  man  of  twenty  two  years.  The 
young  man  embraced  and  thanked  Faolan.  "  I  am 
your  uncle,"  said  he,  "brother  of  the  poisonous 
hound  that  you  freed  from  enchantment  at  sea. 
I  was  fourteen  years  in  the  power  of  the  wild 
hag,  and  could  not  be  freed  till  my  father's  sword 
pierced  me.  Give  me  that  sword  which  belonged 
to  my  father.  It  was  to  deliver  me  that  your  mother 
gave  you  that  blade.  I  will  give  you  a  better  one 
still,  since  you  are  a  greater  champion  than  I.  I 
will  give  you  my  grandfather's  sword;  here  it  is. 
When  the  wild  hag  grows  uneasy  at  my  delay, 
she  herself  will  hasten  hither.  She  knew  that 
you  were  to  come  and  release  me,  and  she  is  pre- 
paring this  long  time  to  meet  you.  For  seven 
years,  she  has  been  making  steel  nails  to  tear 
you  to  pieces;  and  she  has  sweet  music  which 
she  will  play  when  she  sees  you:  that  music 
makes  every  man  sleep  when  he  hears  it.  When 
you  feel  the  sleep  coming,  stab  your  leg  with 
your  sword ;  that  will  keep  you  awake.  She 
will  then  give  you  battle;  and  if  you  chance  to 
cut  off  her  head,  let  not  the  head  come  to  the 
body  :  for  if  it  comes  on  the  body,  all  the  world 
could  not  take  it  away.  When  you  cut  off  her 
head,  grasp  it  in  one  hand,  and  hold  it  till  all  the 
blood  flows  out;  make  two  halves  of  the  head, 

Mac  Cool,  Faolan,  and  the  Moimtain.     497 

holding  it  in  your  hand  all  the  while;  and  I 
will  remove  the  stone  cover  from  a  very  deep 
well  here  at  hand;  and  do  you  throw  the  split 
head  into  that  well,  and  put  the  cover  on 

The  uncle  went  aside  then ;  and  soon  the  hag 
came  through  the  air.  Seeing  Faolan,  she  began 
to  play  strains  of  beautiful  music,  which  were 
putting  him  to  sleep;  but  he  thrust  his  new  sword 
in  the  calf  of  his  leg,  and  kept  away  sleep.  The 
wild  hag,  outwitted,  attacked  the  youth  fiercely, 
and  he  went  at  her  in  earnest.  Every  time  that 
she  caught  him  with  her  nails,  she  scraped  skin 
and  flesh  from  his  head  to  his  heels;  and  then, 
remembering  his  mother,  and  being  aroused  by 
his  uncle,  he  collected  his  strength,  and  with 
one  blow  cut  the  head  off  the  hag;  but  he  was  so 
spent  from  the  struggle  that  it  took  him  some 
time  to  seize  the  head,  and  so  weak  was  he  that 
he  could  not  raise  his  hand  to  split  it. 

"Lay  your  sword  on  the  head;  the  blade  alone 
will  split  it!  "  cried  the  uncle. 

Faolan  did  this.  The  sword  cut  the  head;  and 
then  Faolan  threw  the  head  into  the  well.  Just 
as  he  was  going  to  cover  the  well,  the  head  spoke, 
and  said,  "  I  put  you  under  bonds  of  heavy 
enchantment  not  to  eat  two  meals  off  the  same 
table,  nor  sleep  two  nights  on  the  same  bed,  till 


498  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

you  tell  the  Cat  of  Gray  Fort  that  you  destroyed 
the  wild  hag  out  of  her  kingdom." 

The  uncle  embraced  Faolan  then,  and  said, 
"Now  I  will  go  to  my  sister,  your  mother;  but 
first  I  will  guide  you  to  this  hag's  enchanted 
well :  if  you  bathe  in  its  water,  you  will  be  as 
sound  and  well  as  ever. " 

Faolan  went,  bathed  in  the  well,  and,  when 
fully  recovered,  returned  to  the  castle.  Think- 
ing Gray  Fort  must  be  near  by,  he  did  not  rouse 
Dyeermud,  but  went  alone  in  search  of  the  cat. 
He  travelled  all  day,  and  at  last  saw  a  great  fort 
with  the  tail  of  a  cat  sticking  out  of  it.  "This 
may  be  the  cat,"  thought  he,  and  he  went  around 
the  whole  fort  to  find  the  head.  He  found  it 
thrust  out  just  beyond  the  tail. 

"Are  you  the  Cat  of  Gray  Fort?"  inquired 

"I  am,"  said  the  cat. 

"If  you  are,"  said  Faolan,  "I  destroyed  the 
wild  hag  out  of  her  kingdom." 

"If  you  did,"  said  the  cat,  "you  will  kill  no 
one  else;  for  the  hag  was  my  sister." 

The  cat  rushed  at  Faolan  then ;  and,  bad  as  the 
hag  had  been,  the  cat  was  far  worse.  The  two 
fought  that  night  furiously,  till  the  following 
morning,  when  Faolan  cut  the  cat  in  two  halves 
-across  the  middle.  The  half  that  the  head  was 

MacCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     499 

on  ran  around  trying  to  meet  the  other  half;  but 
before  it  could  do  so,  Faolan  cut  the  head  off  the 
front  half.  Then  the  head  spoke,  and  said,  - 

"  I  put  you  under  bonds  of  enchantment  not 
to  eat  two  meals  off  the  one  table,  nor  sleep  two 
nights  on  the  one  bed,  till  you  tell  the  Kitten 
of  Cul  MacKip  that  you  killed  the  Cat  of  Gray 
Fort  and  destroyed  the  wild  hag  out  of  her 
kingdom. " 

Faolan  then  hurried  forward  to  find  the  kitten. 
Thinking  that  her  place  was  near,  he  did  not  go 
back  to  the  castle  for  Dyeermud,  but  held  on  the 
whole  day,  walking  always.  Toward  evening,  he 
saw  a  castle,  went  toward  it,  and  entered  it. 
When  inside  he  saw  half  a  loaf  of  barley-bread 
and  a  quart  of  ale  placed  on  the  window.  "  Who- 
ever owns  these,  I  will  use  them,"  said  the 

When  he  had  eaten  and  drunk,  he  put  down 
a  fire  for  the  night,  and  saw  a  kitten  lying  near 
the  ashes.  "This  may  be  the  Kitten  of  Cul  Mac- 
Kip,"  thought  he;  and,  shaking  it,  he  asked, 
"Are  you  the  Kitten  of  Cul  MacKip?" 

"I  am,"  said  the  kitten. 

"If  you  are,"  said  Faolan,  "then  I  tell  you 
that  I  killed  the  Cat  of  Gray  Fort  and  destroyed 
the  wild  hag  out  of  her  kingdom. " 

"If  you  did,"  said  the  kitten,  "you  will  never 

500  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

kill  any  one  else,"  and,  starting  up,  the  kitten 
stretched,  and  was  as  big  as  a  horse  in  a  moment. 
She  sprang  at  Faolan,  and  he  at  her.  They 
fought  fiercely  that  night,  and  the  following  day, 
but  Faolan,  toward  evening,  swept  the  head  off 
the  kitten;  but  as  he  did,  the  head  spoke,  and  said, 
"  I  put  you  under  bonds  of  heavy  enchantment 
not  to  eat  two  meals  off  the  same  table,  nor 
sleep  two  nights  on  the  same  bed,  till  you  tell 
the  Dun  Ox  that  you  slew  the  Kitten  of  Cul  Mac- 
Kip,  killed  the  Cat  of  Gray  Fort,  and  destroyed 
the  wild  hag  out  of  her  kingdom," 

Before  setting  out,  Faolan  saw  a  brass  ball  on 
the  window,  and,  taking  it,  said  to  himself,  "  I 
may  kill  some  game  with  this  on  the  road." 

Away  he  went  then,  and  walked  on  till  he 
came  to  where  the  road  lay  through  a  wood ;  near 
the  road  was  a  forester's  cabin.  Out  came  the 
forester  with  a  hundred  thousand  welcomes. 

"  Glad  am  I  to  see  you ;  gladder  still  would  I 
be  if  your  comrade,  Dyeermud,  were  with  you," 
said  the  forester. 

"  Can  you  tell  me  where  the  Dun  Ox  is  ? " 
asked  Faolan. 

"In  this  wood,"  said  the  forester;  "but  do  you 
bring  your  comrade  to  help  you  against  the  Dun 
Ox;  by  no  chance  can  you  slay  him  alone.  The 
Dun  Ox  has  only  one  eye,  and  that  in  the  middle 

MacCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.      501 

of  his  forehead;  over  that  eye  is  a  shield  of 
white  metal;  from  that  shield  two  bars  of  iron 
run  back  to  the  tail  of  the  ox.  Behind  him,  two 
champions  are  on  guard  always ;  and  when  any 
one  nears  him,  the  ox  sniffs  the  stranger,  and 
roars ;  the  champions  lean  on  the  bars  then,  and 
raise  up  the  shield.  When  the  one  eye  of  the 
ox  sees  the  person  approaching,  that  moment  the 
person  falls  dead.  What  are  your  chances  of 
slaying  that  ox  ?  Go  back  for  your  comrade. " 

"I  will  not,"  said  Faolan;  "the  ox  will  fall  by 
me,  or  I  by  the  ox." 

"It  is  you  that  will  fall,"  said  the  forester. 

Faolan  entered  the  cabin,  where  the  forester 
treated  him  well.  Next  morning  the  forester 
showed  the  path  that  lay  toward  the  place  where 
the  ox  was.  Faolan  had  not  gone  far  when  the 
ox  roared,  and,  looking  in  the  direction  of  the 
roar,  he  saw  the  two  champions  just  seizing 
the  bars  to  raise  up  the  shield,  so,  failing  other 
means,  he  sent  the  ball,  with  a  well-aimed  cast, 
and  crushed  in  the  forehead  of  the  ox  through 
the  shield.  The  ox  fell  dead,  but,  before  falling, 
his  eye  turned  on  Faolan,  who  dropped  dead 

Dyeermud  slept  a  hero's  sleep  of  seven  days 
and  seven  nights.  When  he  woke,  and  found  no 
tidings  of  Faolan,  he  was  furious;  but  the  four 

502  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

champions  calmed  him;  and  the  young  woman 
said,  "The  wild  hag  may  have  killed  him;  but  if 
as  much  as  one  bone  of  his  body  can  be  found,  I 
will  bring  him  to  life  again." 

Dyeermud,  Faolan's  betrothed,  and  her  four 
brothers  set  out,  and,  coming  to  the  battle-field, 
found  the  army  of  the  wild  hag  slain,  but  no 
trace  of  Faolan.  They  went  to  the  well  then, 
and  saw  the  split  head  there. 

The  six  went  to  Gray  Fort,  and  found  the  cat 
dead,  the  hind-part  in  one  place,  the  fore-part  in 
a  second,  and  the  head  in  a  third. 

"The  head  must  have  sent  him  to  the  Kitten 
of  Cul  MacKip,"  said  the  young  woman;  "that 
kitten  has  twice  as  much  witch  power  as  the  cat 
and  the  old  hag;  all  three  are  sisters." 

They  went  farther,  and,  finding  the  kitten 
dead,  went  to  find  the  Dun  Ox ;  "  for  Faolan  must 
be  dead  near  him,"  said  the  young  woman. 
When  they  came  to  his  cabin,  the  forester 
greeted  them,  and  gave  a  hundred  thousand 
welcomes  to  Dyeermud,  who  was  surprised,  and 
inquired,  "How  do  you  know  me?  I  have  never 
been  in  this  country  before." 

"  I  know  you  well ;  for  I  saw  you  two  years  ago 
in  combat  with  the  Champion  of  the  Eastern 
World  on  Ventry  Strand.  Many  persons  were 
looking  at  that  combat,  but  you  did  not  see  them. 
I  was  there  with  the  others." 

Mac  Cool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     503 

"  Have  you  seen  a  young  champion  pass  this 
way?"  asked  Dyeermud. 

"  I  have,"  said  the  forester;  "but  he  must  have 
perished  by  the  Dun  Ox,  for  I  have  not  heard  the 
ox  bellow  this  long  time." 

The  six  spent  that  night  at  the  forester's  cabin  ; 
and,  setting  out  next  morning  early,  they  soon 
found  Faolan.  The  young  woman  bathed  him 
with  some  fluid  from  a  vial,  and,  opening  his 
mouth,  poured  the  rest  down  his  throat.  He 
rose  up  at  once,  as  sound  and  healthy  as  ever. 
All  went  to  the  ox,  which  they  found  lying  dead, 
and  the  two  champions  also;  and,  searching 
about,  they  found  the  brazen  ball  sunk  in  the 
earth  some  distance  away.  Faolan  took  it  up 
carefully.  They  went  back  to  the  forester's 
cabin,  and  enjoyed  themselves  well. 

"Do  you  know  where  the  Mountain  of  Happi- 
ness is?"  inquired  Dyeermud  of  the  forester, 
during  the  night. 

"I  do  not,"  said  the  forester;  "but  I  know 
where  the  Black-Blue  Giant  lives,  and  he  knows 
every  place  in  the  world.  That  giant  has  never 
given  a  meal  or  a  night's  lodging  to  any  man. 
He  has  an  only  daughter,  who  is  in  .love  with 
you,  since  she  saw  you  two  years  ago  in  combat 
with  the  Champion  of  the  Eastern  World  on  Ven- 
try  Strand,  although  you  did  not  see  her.  This 

504  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

daughter  is  closely  confined  by  the  giant,  fearing 
she  may  escape  to  you;  and  if  you  succeed  in 
reaching  her,  she  is  likely  to  know,  if  her  father 
knows,  where  the  Mountain  of  Happiness  is." 

"How  did  you  get  tidings  of  the  giant's 
daughter?"  asked  Dyeermud. 

"I  will  not  tell  you  now,"  said  the  forester, 
"but  I  will  go  with  you  to  guide  you  to  the  giant, 
and  I  may  give  you  assistance.  Here  are  three 
keys,  — the  keys  of  the  castles  of  the  Dun  Ox, 
of  the  Kitten  of  Cul  MacKip,  and  of  the  Cat  of 
Gray  Fort;  they  are  yours  now." 

"Those  keys  are  not  mine,"  said  Dyeermud; 
"they  belong  to  Faolan,  who  slew  the  three 
owners. " 

"If  Faolan  slew  them,"  said  the  forester,  "he 
had  assistance,  which  caused  you  to  come  to 

"Keep  the  keys  till  we  come  back,"  said 

The  seven  travelled  on  then,  and  were  going 
ten  days  when  they  saw  the  giant's  castle.  Now 
this  castle  stood  on  one  leg,  and  whirled  around 

"  I  will.use  my  strength  on  that  castle,  to  know 
can  I  stop  it,"  said  Dyeermud. 

"You  cannot  stop  it,"  said  the  forester.  "I 
will  stop  it  myself.  Do  you  watch  the  door  of 

Mac  Coo  I,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     505 

the  castle,  which  is  on  the  top  of  the  roof,  and, 
when  the  castle  stops,  spring  in  through  the  door, 
and  seize  the  giant,  if  he  is  inside,  and  compel 
him  to  give  a  night's  lodging." 

The  forester  then  made  for  the  castle,  and, 
placing  his  shoulder  against  one  of  the  corners, 
kept  it  standing  still;  and  Dyeermud,  leaping 
in  by  the  roof,  came  down  before  the  giant,  who 
had  started  up,  knowing  something  was  wrong 
when  the  castle  stood  still. 

Dyeermud  and  the  giant  grappled  each  other 
so  fiercely,  and  fought  with  such  fury,  that  the 
castle  was  shivering.  The  giant's  wife  begged 
them  to  go  out  of  the  castle,  and  fight  on  the 
open,  and  not  frighten  the  life  out  of  herself  and 
the  child  in  her  arms. 

Out  went  the  Black-Blue  Giant  and  Dyeermud, 
and  fought  until  Dyeermud  brought  down  the 
giant  and  sprained  his  back.  The  giant  let  a 
roar  out  of  him,  and  begged  there  for  quarter. 

"Your  head  is  mine,"  answered  Dyeermud. 

"It  is,"  said  the  giant;  "but  spare  me,  and  I 
will  give  you  whatever  you  ask  for." 

"  I  want  lodging  for  myself  and  my  company. " 

"You  will  get  that,"  said  the  giant. 

All  then  went  into  the  giant's  castle;  and 
when  they  were  sitting  at  dinner}  Dyeermud  ate 

506  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"Why  is  this?  "  asked  the  giant. 

"It  is  the  custom  of  the  Fenians  of  Erin,"  said 
he,  "  not  to  eat  at  a  table  where  all  the  members 
of  the  house  are  not  present." 

"All  my  people  are  here,"  said  the  giant. 

"They  are  not,"  answered  Dyeermud ;  "you 
have  one  daughter  not  present." 

The  giant  had  to  bring  the  daughter.  They 
ate  then.  The  forester  talked  after  dinner  with 
Dyeermud,  and  said,  "The  giant's  daughter  has 
a  maid ;  you  must  bribe  her  to  give  you  the  key 
of  her  mistress's  chamber;  and  if  you  come  by 
the  young  woman's  secrets,  she  may  tell  you 
where  the  Mountain  of  Happiness  is,  if  she 
knows. " 

Dyeermud  went  to  the  maid.  "You  will  not 
be  here  always, "  said  he;  "your  mistress  will 
marry  me,  and  leave  this  castle;  then  you'll 
have  no  business  here.  I  will  take  you  with  us 
if  you  give  me  the  key  of  the  chamber." 

"The  giant  himself  keeps  that  key  under  his 
pillow  at  night;  he  sleeps  only  one  nap,  like  a 
bird,  but  sleeps  heavily  that  time.  If  you 
promise  to  take  me  with  my  mistress,  I  '11  strive 
to  bring  the  key  hither. " 

"I  promise,"  said  Dyeermud. 

The  maid  brought  the  key,  and  gave  it  on  con- 
dition that  she  was  to  have  it  again  within  an 

Mac  Coo  I,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     507 

hour.  Dyeermud  went  then  to  the  giant's  daugh- 
ter, and  when  her  first  wonder  was  over,  he  asked, 
"  Do  you  know  where  the  Mountain  of  Happiness 

"  I  do  not.  My  father  knows  well,  but  for  some 
reason  he  has  never  told  me,  so  he  must  have 
fared  very  badly  there;  but  if  you  lay  his  head 
on  a  block,  and  threaten  to  cut  it  off  with  your 
sword,  he  will  tell  you,  if  you  ask  him ;  but  other- 
wise he  will  not  tell." 

"I  will  do  that;  and  I  will  take  you  to  Erin 
when  I  go,"  answered  Dyeermud. 

"Where  is  the  Mountain  of  Happiness?  "  asked 
Dyeermud  of  the  giant,  next  morning. 

He  would  not  tell.  Dyeermud  caught  the 
giant,  who  could  not  resist  him  on  account  of  his 
sprained  back;  he  drew  him  out,  placed  his  head 
on  a  block,  and  said,  "  I  will  cut  the  head  off  you 
now,  unless  you  tell  me  what  you  know  of  the 
Mountain  of  Happiness.  The  Fenians  of  Erin 
have  but  the  one  word,  and  it  is  useless  for  you 
to  resist  me;  you  must  go  with  us,  and  show  us 
the  way  to  the  mountain." 

The  giant,  finding  no  escape  possible,  promised 
to  go.  They  set  out  soon,  taking  all  the  arms 
needed.  As  the  mountain  was  not  far  distant, 
they  reached  the  place  without  great  delay.  The 
giant  showed  them  the  lair  of  the  oxen,  but  after 

508  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

a  promise  that  he  should  be  free  to  escape  should 
danger  threaten. 

"I  know  all  the  rest  now,"  said  the  forester. 
"Do  you,"  said  he  to  Dyeermud,  "stand  straight 
in  front  of  the  lair,  and  I,  with  Faolan,  will  stand 
with  drawn  swords,  one  on  each  side  of  the  en- 
trance; and  do  you,"  said  he  to  the  four  brothers, 
"knock  down  the  entrance,  and  open  the  place 
for  the  oxen  to  rush  out.  If  the  head  of  each  ox 
is  not  cut  off  when  he  stands  in  the  entrance,  the 
world  would  not  kill  him  from  that  out  " 

All  was  done  at  the  forester's  word.  The 
entrance  was  not  long  open,  when  out  rushed  an 
ox ;  but  his  head  was  knocked  off  by  the  forester. 
Faolan  slew  the  second  ox;  but  the  third  ox 
followed  the  second  so  quickly  that  he  broke 
away,  took  Dyeermud  on  his  horns,  and  went 
like  a  flash  to  the  top  of  the  Mountain  of  Happi- 
ness. This  mountain  stood  straight  in  front  of 
the  lair,  but  was  far  away.  On  the  mountain,  the 
ox  attacked  Dyeermud ;  and  they  fought  for  seven 
days  and  nights  in  a  savage  encounter.  At  the 
end  of  seven  days,  Dyeermud  remembered  that 
there  was  no  help  for  him  there,  that  he  was  far 
from  his  mother  and  sister,  who  were  all  he  had 
living,  and  that  if  he  himself  did  not  slay  the 
fierce  ox,  he  would  never  see  home  again;  so, 
with  one  final  effort,  he  drove  his  sword  through 

MacCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.      509 

the  heart  of  the  ox.  He  himself  was  so  spent 
from  the  struggle  and  blood-loss  that  he  fainted, 
and  would  have  died  on  the  mountain,  but  for  his 
companions,  who  came  now.  They  were  seven 
days  on  the  road  over  which  the  ox  passed  in  a 
very  few  minutes. 

The  forester  rubbed  Dyeermud  with  ointment, 
and  all  his  strength  came  to  him.  They  opened 
the  ox,  took  out  all  the  tallow,  and,  going  back 
to  the  other  two  oxen,  did  in  like  manner,  saving 
the  tallow  of  each  of  them  separately.  They 
went  next  to  the  castle  of  the  Black-Blue  Giant. 

"  Will  you  set  out  for  home  to-morrow?  "  asked 
the  forester,  turning  to  Dyeermud. 

"We  will,"  answered  Dyeermud. 

"Oh,  foolish  people!"  said  the  forester. 
"Those  three  oxen  were  brothers  of  Grainne, 
and  were  living  in  enchantment ;  should  she  get 
the  tallow  of  each,  ox  by  itself  and  entire,  she 
would  bring  back  the  three  brothers  to  life,  and 
they  would  destroy  all  the  Fenians  of  Erin.  We 
will  hang  up  the  tallow  in  the  smoke  of  the 
Black-Blue  Giant's  chimney;  it  will  lose  some 
of  itself  there.  When  she  gets  it,  it  will  not 
have  full  weight.  We  will  change  your  beds 
and  your  tables  while  you  are  waiting,  so  as  to 
observe  the  injunction.  You  must  do  this;  for 
if  you  do  not  make  an  end  of  Grainne,  Grainne 
will  make  an  end  of  you." 

510  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

All  was  done  as  the  forester  said.  At  the  end 
of  a  week,  when  Faolan  and  his  friend  were  set- 
ting out  for  Erin,  the  giant  and  his  wife  fell  to 
weeping  and  wailing  after  their  daughter,  who 
was  going  with  Dyeermud. 

"We  will  come  back  again  soon,"  said  Dyeer- 
mud, "and  then  will  have  a  great  feast  for  this 
marriage. " 

"  It  is  here  that  I  will  have  my  marriage  feast, 
too,"  said  Faolan. 

The  forester,  who  was  an  old  man,  said  per- 
haps he  might  have  a  marriage  feast  at  that  time 
as  well  as  the  others.  At  this  they  all  laughed. 

The  giant  and  his  wife  were  then  satisfied;  and 
the  company  set  out  for  the  forester's  cabin. 
When  they  Reached  the  cabin,  the  forester  said 
to  Dyeermud,  "  As  I  served  you,  I  hope  that  you 
will  do  me  a  good  turn." 

"I  will  do  you  a  good  turn,"  said  Dyeermud, 
"if  I  lose  my  life  in  doing  it." 

"Cut  off  my  head,"  said  the  forester. 

"I  will  not,"  replied  Dyeermud. 

"Well, "said  the  old  man,  "if  you  do  not,  you 
will  leave  me  in  great  distress;  for  I,  too,  am 
under  enchantment,  and  there  is  no  power  to  save 
me  unless  you,  Dyeermud,  cut  off  my  head  with 
the  sword  that  killed  the  oldest  of  the  oxen." 

When  Dyeermud  saw  how  he  could  serve  the 

MacCool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.     511 

forester,  he  cut  off  his  head  with  one  blow,  and 
there  rose  up  before  him  a  young  man  of  twenty- 
one  years. 

"My  name  is  Arthur,  son  of  Deara,"  said  the 
young  man  to  Dyeermud ;  "  I  was  enchanted  by 
my  stepmother,  and  I  am  in  love  with  your  sister 
since  I  saw  her  two  years  ago  on  Ventry  Strand, 
when  you  were  in  combat  with  the  Champion  of 
the  Eastern  World.  Will  you  let  your  sister 
marry  me?  " 

"  I  will,"  replied  Dyeermud;  "and  she  will  not 
marry  any  man  but  the  one  that  I  will  choose  for 

"I  helped  Faolan,"  said  Arthur,  "in  all  his 
struggles,  except  that  against  the  Dun  Ox." 

Next  day  all  went  to  the  castle  of  the  four 
champions  and  their  sister,  and,  leaving  the 
women  in  that  place,  they  set  out  for  Erin. 

When  the  Fenians  of  Erin  saw  them  sailing  in 
toward  Ventry  Strand,  they  raised  three  shouts 
of  joyous  welcome.  Whoever  was  glad,  or  was 
not  glad,  Grainne  was  glad,  because  there  was 
an  end,  as  she  thought,  to  her  suffering.  Indeed, 
she  would  not  have  lived  at  all  had  she  kept  the 
injunctions,  but  she  did  not;  she  received  meat 
and  eggs  on  Sliav  lolar  from  all  the  women  who 
took  pity  on  her  and  went  to  visit  her.  So  when 
she  got  the  tallow,  she  weighed  it,  and  finding  it 

512  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

some  ounces  short,  gave  out  three  piercing  wails 
of  distress,  and  when  Dyeermud,  who  was  of 
fiery  temper,  saw  that  Faolan  was  not  willing  to 
punish  the  woman,  he  raised  his  own  sword,  and 
swept  the  head  off  her. 

Fin  embraced  Faolan  and  welcomed  him. 
Dyeermud  went  to  his  mother  and  sister. 

"Will  you  marry  a  young  champion  whom  I 
have  brought  with  me  ?  "  asked  he  of  the  sister. 

"I  will  marry  no  one,"  said  she,  "but  the  man 
you  will  choose  for  me." 

"Very  well,"  said  Dyeermud,  "there  is  such 
a  man  outside."  He  led  her  out,  and  she  and 
Arthur  were  well  pleased  with  each  other. 

Dyeermud,  with  his  sister  and  Arthur  and 
Faolan,  set  out  on  the  following  day,  and  never 
stopped  nor  stayed  till  they  reached  the  castle  of 
the  four  champions  and  their  sister;  and,  taking 
Faolan's  betrothed  and  Dyeermud  along  with 
them,  they  travelled  on  till  they  stopped  at  the 
castle  of  the  Black-Blue  Giant.  Faolan's  mother 
was  there  before  him ;  and  glad  was  she,  and 
rejoiced,  to  see  her  own  son. 

There  were  three  weddings  in  one  at  the  castle 
of  the  giant:  Arthur  and  Dyeermud's  sister; 
Faolan  and  the  sister  of  the  four  champions; 
Dyeermud  and  the  daughter  of  the  Black-Blue 

Mac  Cool,  Faolan,  and  the  Mountain.      5  r  3 

When"  the  feasting  was  over,  Faolan's  mother 
called  him,  and  asked,  "  Will  you  go  to  my  king- 
dom, which  is  yours  by  inheritance,  the  country 
of  the  Dark  Men,  and  rule  there?  " 

"I  will,"  said  Faolan,  "on  condition  that  I  am 
to  be  sent  for  if  ever  the  Fenians  should  need  my 
assistance."  He  then  gave  his  share  in  the  land 
of  the  wild  hag,  and  his  claim  to  the  castles  of 
the  Cat  of  Gray  Fort,  the  Kitten  of  Cul  MacKip, 
and  the  Dun  Ox,  to  Arthur  and  Dyeermud,  and 
these  two  shared  those  places  between  them. 
They  attended  Faolan  and  his  wife  to  the  country 
of  the  Dark  Men,  and  then  returned.  Faolan's 
mother  went  to  Fintra,  and  lived  with  Fin 



a  day  when  the  Fenians  were  living  at 
Fintra,  Fin  MacCool  called  them  together, 
held  a  council,  complained  of  remissness,  and 
warned  the  men  to  be  cautious,  to  keep  a  better 
watch  on  the  harbors,  and  to  take  good  care  of 
their  arms.  They  promised  to  do  better  in 
future,  and  asked  Fin  to  forgive  them  for  that 
time.  Fin  forgave  them,  and  sent  men  to  keep 
watch  on  Cruach  Varhin. 

When  on  the  mountain  awhile,  the  chief  sentry 
saw,  in  the  distance,  a  man  leading  a  horse  toward 
Fintra.  He  thought  to  run  down  with  word  to 
Fin,  but  did  not;  he  waited  to  see  what  kind 
of  person  was  coming.  The  man  leading  the 
horse  was  far  from  being  tidy  :  his  shoes  were 
untied,  and  the  strings  hanging  down;  on  his 
shoulders  was  a  mantle,  flapping  around  in  the 
wind.  The  horse  had  a  broad,  surly  face;  his 
neck  was  thick  at  the  throat,  and  thin  toward 
the  body:  the  beast  was  scrawny,  long-legged, 
lean,  thin-maned,  and  ugly  to  look  at.  The 

MacCool,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High  King.   5 1 5 

only  bridle  on  the  horse  was  a  long,  heavy  chain ; 
the  whip  in  the  hand  of  the  man  was  a  strong 
iron  staff.  Each  blow  that  the  man  gave  his  steed 
was  heard  through  the  glens  and  the  mountains, 
and  knocked  echoes  out  of  every  cliff  in  that 
region.  Each  pull  that  the  man  gave  the  bridle 
was  that  strong,  that  you  would  think  he  'd  tear 
the  head  off  the  ugly  beast's  body.  Every  clump 
of  earth  that  the  horse  rooted  up  with  his  feet,  in 
striving  to  hold  back,  was  three  times  the  size  of 
a  sod  of  turf  ready  for  burning. 

"It  is  time  for  me  now,"  said  the  watchman,  at 
last,  "to  hurry  from  this,  and  tell  Fin,"  and  with 
that  he  rushed  down  from  Cruach  Varhin. 

Fin  saw  him  coming,  and  was  ready  for  his 
story;  and  not  too  soon  was  it  told;  for  just  then 
the  horseman  came  up  to  the  King  of  the  Fenians 
at  Fintra. 

"Who  are  you?  "  inquired  Fin. 

"I  do  not  know  who  my  father  was,"  said  the 
stranger.  "  I  am  of  one  place  as  well  as  another. 
Men  call  me  the  Hard  Gilla;  and  it  is  a  good 
name :  for  no  matter  how  well  people  treat  me 
I  forget  all  they  do.  I  have  heard,  though,  that 
you  give  most  wages,  and  best  treatment  of  any 

"I  will  give  you  good  wages,"  said  Fin,  "and 
fair  treatment;  but  how  much  do  you  want  of 

516  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

"I  want  whatever  I  ask." 

"I  will  give  you  that  and  more,  if  I  promise," 
said  Fin. 

"I  am  your  man,"  said  the  Gilla.  "Now  that 
we  have  agreed,  I  may  let  my  horse  out  to  graze, 
I  suppose? " 

"You  may,"  answered  Fin. 

The  Gilla  untied  the  chain  bridle  from  his 
horse,  and  struck  him  with  the  chain.  The  beast 
went  to  the  other  horses;  but  if  he  did,  he  fell 
to  eating  the  mane,  legs,  ears,  and  tail  of  each 
one  of  them,  and  ate  all  till  he  came  to  a  steed 
grazing  apart,  and  this  steed  belonged  to  Conan 
Maol.  Conan  ran,  caught  the  ugly  old  horse  by 
the  skull,  and  pulled  him  up  to  his  owner. 

Mind  your  wicked  old  cripple!"  cried  Conan, 
in  anger. 

"  If  any  man  does  not  like  how  my  horse  feeds, 
he  may  herd  the  good  steed  himself." 

When  Conan  heard  this  insolence,  he  went  to 
the  adviser  for  counsel.  The  adviser  told  him  to 
go  upon  the  back  of  the  horse,  and  to  ride  till 
he  broke  him.  Conan  mounted  the  horse;  but 
not  a  stir  could  he  get  from  the  stubborn  beast. 

"He  is  used  to  heavy  loads,"  said  the  adviser. 
"  Let  others  mount  with  you." 

The  Fenians  were  mounting  the  horse  till 
twenty-eight  men  of  them  went  up  with  Conan. 

Mac  Cool,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High  King.   517 

The  twenty-nine  began  then  to  wallop  the  horse, 
but  could  not  raise  a  stir  out  of  him.  The  old 
horse  only  cocked  one  ear.  When  the  Gilla  saw 
the  twenty-nine  on  his  horse,  he  called  out,  "It 
seems  that  we  do  not  agree ;  and  the  sooner  I  go 
from  this  place  the  better." 

He  tightened  his  cloak,  flapping  loose  on  his 
body,  tied  his  shoes,  and  said,  "  In  place  of 
praising,  I  will  dispraise  you."  Then  he  went 
in  front  of  the  horse.  The  horse  raised  his  tail 
and  his  head,  and  between  his  tail  and  his  neck 
he  held  the  men  firmly.  Some  tried  to  jump  off, 
but  were  as  secure  on  the  horse  as  his  own  skin. 
Conan  was  the  first  to  speak.  When  he  saw  that 
he  could  not  spring  from  the  horse,  he  turned  to 
Fin,  and  cried  out,  "  I  bind  you,  O  Fin,  not  to 
eat  two  meals  off  the  one  table,  or  sleep  two 
nights  on  the  one  bed,  till  you  have  me  freed 
from  this  serpent." 

When  Fin  and  the  Fenians  heard  this,  they 
looked  at  one  another.  The  adviser  spoke  then, 
and  said,  "  There  is  no  time  for  delay.  We  have 
here  a  man  to  follow,  and  he  is  Leeagawn  of 
Luachar  Garv. " 

Fin  called  Leeagawn,  and  he  went  after  the 
steed  quickly,  caught  him  at  the  edge  of  the 
strand,  and  seized  him  by  the  tail;  but  if  he  did, 
he  grew  fast  to  the  tail  of  the  horse,  and  was 

518  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

pulled  forward  to  the  strand.  He  tried  to  loose 
himself  from  the  tail,  but  no  use  for  him  to  try. 
The  horse  drew  him  into  the  water.  The  sea 
opened  before  the  strange  steed,  and  closed 
behind.  The  Gilla  ran  in  front.  Twenty-nine 
men  were  on  the  back  of  the  horse,  and  one  fixed 
to  his  tail. 

Fin  and  the  Fenians  were  greatly  distressed  at 
the  sight,  but  could  give  no  assistance.  They 
held  council;  and  the  druid  said,  "There  is  an 
old  ship  in  Ben  Eadan ;  put  that  ship  in  repair, 
and  sail  after  the  steed." 

"  Let  us  go,"  said  the  Fenians,  "for  the  ship." 

As  they  were  making  ready  to  start,  two  young 
champions  hurried  up  to  Fin,  and  saluted  him. 

"Who  are  ye?"  asked  Fin,  returning  the 
salute;  "and  whither  are  ye  going?" 

"We  are  the  two  sons  of  a  king,"  replied  they; 
"each  has  a  gift,  and  we  have  come  to  you  to 
know  which  is  the  better  gift  to  live  by.  The 
two  gifts  are  two  powers  left  us  by  our  father." 

"  What  is  your  power?  "  asked  Fin  of  the  elder 

"  Do  you  see  this  branch  ?  "  said  he.  "  If  I 
strike  the  water  of  the  harbor  with  this  branch, 
the  harbor  will  be  filled  with  ships  till  they  are 
crushing  one  another.  When  you  choose  the 
one  you  like,  I  will  make  the  others  disappear 
as  quickly  as  you  can  bow  your  head." 

Mac  Coo  I,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High  King.  519 

"  What  can  you  do  ?  "  asked  Fin  of  the  younger 

"  If  a  wild  duck  were  to  dart  forth  from  her 
nest,  I  could  keep  in  sight  of  the  bird,  and  she 
going  straight  or  crooked,  high  or  low,  I  could 
catch  her  before  she  could  fly  back  to  the  nest 
from  which  she  came." 

When  they  had  done  speaking,  Fin  said,  "  I 
have  never  been  in  more  need  of  your  help  than 
I  am  at  this  moment."  He  told  them  then  of  the 
Gilla,  and  of  all  that  had  happened.  The  elder 
brother  struck  the  harbor  with  his  branch;  the 
harbor  was  filled  with  ships  in  one  minute.  Fin 
chose  the  ship  he  liked  best,  and  said,  "I'll 
take  that  one."  In  a  twinkle  the  other  ships 

When  the  men  were  all  ready  to  go  on  the 
ship,  Fin  called  Oisin,  and  said  to  him,  "I  leave 
the  ruling  of  Erin  with  you,  till  I  come  back  to 
this  harbor."  He  bade  farewell  then  to  Oisin 
and  the  Fenians.  The  younger  of  the  two  cham- 
pions stood  at  the  prow,  the  elder  at  the  stern. 
The  younger  followed  the  horse  in  crooked  and 
straight  paths  through  the  sea,  told  his  brother 
how  to  steer  on  the  voyage.  They  kept  on  till, 
at  length,  and  at  last,  they  came  to  a  haven  with 
a  steep,  rugged  shore,  and  no  ship  could  enter. 

"This  is  where  the  steed  went  in,"  said  the 
younger  brother. 

520  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

When  the  Fenians  saw  the  haven,  they  looked 
at  one  another.  It  was  a  very  steep  place ;  and 
all  said,  "We  cannot  land  here." 

"  There  will  be  an  evil  report  for  the  Fenians 
of  Erin,  or  for  men  trained  by  Fin,  if  no  one  can 
spring  to  land,"  said  the  druid. 

"Well,"  said  Dyeermud,  "there  was  never  a 
man  at  Fintra  who  could  make  such  a  spring,  if 
I  cannot  make  it." 

He  buckled  his  belt  firmly,  and  went  to  the 
stern  of  the  ship  to  find  space  for  a  run;  then  he 
rushed  to  the  prow,  and  rose  with  one  bound  to 
the  top  of  the  cliff.  When  he  looked  back,  and 
saw  his  comrades  below,  he  was  frightened. 

Dyeermud  left  the  ship  and  the  Fenians,  and 
walked  forward  alone.  Toward  evening,  he  saw 
a  herd  of  deer;  he  pursued  them,  and  caught  a 
doe,  which  he  killed;  he  made  a  fire,  roasted  the 
carcass,  ate  of  it,  and  drank  pure  spring  water. 
He  made  a  hut  then  of  limbs,  and  slept  quietly 
till  morning.  After  breakfast,  a  gruagach  came 
the  way,  and  called  out  to  him,  "  Is  not  Erin 
wide  enough  for  you  to  live  in,  instead  of  coming 
hither  to  steal  my  herds  from  me? " 

"Though  I  might  have  been  willing  to  go  when 
you  came,"  replied  Dyeermud,  "I  will  not  go 
now  since  you  speak  so  unmannerly." 

"You  must  fight  with  me  then,"  said  the 

Mac  Cool,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High,  King.   521 

"I  will  indeed,"  said  Dyeermud. 

They  took  their  spears  and  swords,  and  fought 
all  that  day  until  evening,  when  the  gruagach 
saw  that  Dyeermud  was  getting  the  upper  hand. 
He  leaped  into  the  spring  from  which  Dyeermud 
had  drunk  the  cool  water.  Dyeermud  ran  quickly, 
and  thrust  his  sword  into  the  water,  but  no  sign 
of  the  gruagach. 

"I  will  watch  for  you  to-morrow,"  said  Dyeer- 
mud to  himself;  so  he  waited  near  the  spring 
until  morning. 

The  gruagach  stood  before  him  next  day  more 
threatening  to  look  at  than  ever,  and  said,  "  It 
seems  you  had  n't  fighting  enough  from  me 
yesterday. " 

"I  told  you  that  I  would  not  go,"  answered 
Dyeermud,  "till  I  had  knocked  satisfaction  out 
of  you  for  your  ugly  speech." 

They  went  at  each  other  then^;  and  fought 
fiercely  till  very  near  evening.  Dyeermud 
watched  the  spring  closely,  and  when  the  grua- 
gach leaped  in,  he  was  with  him.  In  the  side 
of  the  spring  was  a  passage;  the  two  walked 
through  that  passage,  and  came  out  in  a  king- 
dom where  there  was  a  grand  castle,  and  seven 
men  at  each  side  of  the  door.  When  Dyeermud 
went  toward  the  castle,  the  fourteen  rushed 
against  him.  He  slew  these,  and  all  others  who 

522  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

faced  him  till  nightfall.  He  would  not  enter  the 
castle,  but  stretched  himself  on  the  groiund,  and 
fell  fast  asleep.  Soon  a  champion  came,  tapped 
him  lightly  with  a  sword,  and  said,  "Rise  now, 
and  speak  to  me." 

Dyeermud  sprang  up,  and  grasped  his  sword. 

"I  am  not  an  enemy,  but  a  friend,"  said  the 
champion.  "  It  is  not  proper  for  you  to  be  sleep- 
ing in  the  midst  of  your  enemies.  Come  to  my 
castle;  I  will  entertain  you,  and  give  you  good 

Dyeermud  went  with  the  stranger;  and  they 
became  faithful  friends.  "The  king  of  this 
country,  which  is  called  Tir  Fohin  [Land  Under 
the  Wave],  is  my  brother,"  said  the  champion. 
"The  kingdom  is  rightfully  mine,  and  't  is  I  that 
should  be  King  of  Tir  Fohin ;  but  my  brother 
corrupted  my  warriors  with  promises,  so  that  all 
except  thirty  men  of  them  left  me." 

This  champion  was  called  the  Knight  of  Valor. 
Dyeermud  told  this  knight  his  whole  story,  —  told 
of  the  Hard  Gilla,  and  his  long-legged,  scrawny, 
thin-maned,  ugly  old  horse. 

"I  am  the  man,"  said  the  knight,  "that  will 
find  out  the  Hard  Gilla  for  you.  That  Gilla  is 
the  best  swordsman  and  champion  in  this  land, 
and  the  greatest  enchanter.  Your  men,  brought 
away  by  him,  are  as  safe  and  as  sound  as  when 
they  left  Erin.  He  is  a  good  friend  of  mine. " 

MacCool,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High  King.   523 

"Now,"  said  Dyeermud,  "for  your  kindness 
(you  might  have  killed  me  when  I  was  asleep), 
and  for  your  entertainment,  I  give  my  word  to 
fight  against  your  brother,  and  win  back  your 

Dyeermud  sent  a  challenge  to  the  King  of 
Tir  Fohin.  The  knight  and  Dyeermud,  with  the 
knight's  thirty  men,  fought  against  the  king's 
forces,  fought  all  that  day  until  evening;  then 
the  king  withdrew  to  the  castle  to  keep  his  hold 
firm  on  the  chief  place,  but  Dyeermud  rushed  in, 
brought  him  out  to  the  green,  threw  him  on  the 
flat  of  his  back,  and  shouted,  "  Are  you  not 
satisfied  yet?  " 

"I  am  if  the  men  are,"  said  the  king. 

"Will  you  obey  the  Knight  of  Valor?  "  asked 
Dyeermud  of  the  men. 

"We  will,"  answered  they. 

The  men  gave  their  word  to  obey  with  all  faith- 
fulness. Dyeermud.  gave  the  false  king  thirty 
men  then;  and  the  Knight  of  Valor  became  king 
in  his  own  land.  On  the  morrow,  Dyeermud  and 
the  king  went  with  forces  to  the  Gilla's  castle; 
and  when  they  entered  the  gates,  the  Gilla  came 
out,  received  them  with  welcome  and  hand-shak- 
ing. There  was  great  rejoicing,  and  good  cheer 
at  the  Gilla's  castle. 

When  Dyeermud  did  not  return  to  the  vessel, 

524  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

Fin  and  the  two  young  champions  thought  to 
find  an  easier  landing  in  some  place;  they  put 
their  ship  around,  and  sailed  forward,  sailed  and 
sailed;  and  where  should  they  come  at  last  but 
to  the  castle  of  the  King  of  Sorach  (Light),  who 
received  them  with  welcome,  and  entertained 
them  with  the  best  that  he  had  in  his  castle. 

But  they  were  hardly  seated  at  table,  when  the 
chief  messenger  of  the  King  of  Sorach  came 
hurrying  in  and  said,  that  there  was  a  fleet  sail- 
ing toward  them,  which  was  as  numerous  as  the 
sands  on  the  seashore,  that  it  was  coming  for 
tribute,  which  had  not  been  collected  for  many 
a  year. 

The  king  had  a  grieved  and  sorrowful  face. 
"That  is  the  High  King  of  the  World  coming 
against  me,"  said  he. 

"  Never  fear,"  said  Fin  MacCool.  "  Cheer  up, 
and  have  courage.  I  and  my  men  will  stand  up 
for  you.  We  will  fight  to  the  death  to  defend 

On  the  following  day,  the  High  King  sent 
forces  to  land,  to  attack  the  King  of  Sorach  in 
his  castle.  These  forces  were  under  command 
of  Borb  Sinnsior  na  Gah,  son  of  the  High  King. 
The  greatest  delight  of  the  High  King  was  his 
daughter,  a  beautiful  maiden  called  Teasa  Taov 
Geal;  and  the  thought  came  to  her  that  day  to 

MacCool,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High  King.   525 

see  the   battle.     "I  will  go,"  said  she,  "with  my 
brother,  and  see  him  take  the  king's  castle." 

On  Fin's  side,  the  two  young  champions  his 
guides  were  eager  to  be  in  the  struggle;  but 
Fin  would  not  hear  of  that.  "You  must  stay 
with  the  ship,"  said  he,  "and  take  us  to  Erin, 
when  the  time  comes." 

As  soon  as  Fin  saw  the  attack  was  led  by  the 
son  of  the  High  King,  he  said,  "  I  will  take  com- 
mand in  the  battle,  and  lead  the  men  in  action 
to-day.  We  will  show  the  invaders  what  the 
Fenians  do  in  battle." 

Oscar  went  with  Fin,  and  so  did  Goll  Mac- 
Morna.  The  battle  raged  grandly;  the  men  of 
the  High  King  fell  in  crowds  until  evening, 
what  was  left  of  them  then  went  to  the  ships, 
and  sailed  back  in  haste  to  their  master. 

When  the  news  reached  the  High  King,  he 
called  his  druid  for  advice. 

"This  is  not  the  time  to  make  war  on  the  King 
of  Sorach,"  said  the  druid;  "for  Fin  MacCool  and 
his  men  are  living  in  friendship  at  his  castle; 
they  will  help  him  to  the  end  of  this  struggle. 
Go  home  for  the  present,  and  come  again  when 
Fin  has  gone  back  to  Erin." 

The  king  was  inclined  to  do  this;  but  his 
daughter  had  seen  Fin  MacCool  in  the  battle, 
and  fallen  in  love  with  him.  She  sent  him  a 

526  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

message,    saying,  "  I  will    go  with  you.      I  will 
leave  my  father  for  your  sake.     I  love  you. " 

The  answer  that  Fin  sent,  was  to  come  to  him; 
he  would  take  her  with  gladness  to  Erin. 

The  king  was  grieved  at  the  loss  of  his  daugh- 
ter. "I  might  go  home  now,"  said  he,  "and 
come  back  at  another  time;  but  how  can  I  go, 
and  leave  my  daughter  behind  me  ?  " 

There  was  a  champion  called  Lavran  MacSuain, 
who  could  steal  anything  while  men  were  asleep, 
and  make  them  sleep  all  the  more,  but  could  not 
do  harm  to  them.  Lavran  volunteered  to  bring 
back  the  daughter. 

•  "If  I  find  them  asleep,"  said  he,  "I  will  bring 
her  back ;  if  you  give  me  a  reward. " 

"I  will  pay  you  well,"  said  the  king.  "I  will 
not  spare  rewards  on  you,  if  you  bring  me  my 

When  Lavran  came  to  where  Fin  was,  he  found 
him  and  the  Fenians  asleep,  and  put  them  in  a 
still  deeper  sleep.  He  brought  Teasa  Taov  Geal 
to  her  father's  ship  then.  The  fleet  sailed  away 
in  the  night ;  and  at  day-break  there  was  not  a 
trace  of  it. 

Next  morning  when  Fin  woke,  and  found  that 
the  king's  daughter  was  gone,  he  sprang  up,  and 
was  raging  with  anger.  He  sent  men  to  look  for 
the  fleet;  but  not  a  boat  nor  a  ship  was  in  sight. 

MacCool,  Hard  Gilla,  and  High  King.   527 

Oscar  and  Goll,  seeing  Fin  in  such  passion, 
said,  "We  will  go,  if  a  druid  goes  with  us.  He 
will  find  out  the  castle  by  his  knowledge;  and  we 
will  bring  the  woman  back,  or  die  while  striving 
to  bring  her." 

Next  morning,  Goll  and  Oscar  took  a  ready  ship 
from  the  fleet  of  the  King  of  Sorach,  set  sail, 
and  never  stopped  till  they  touched  land  near 
the  castle  of  the  High  King. 

"The  best  way  for  us,"  said  the  druid,  on  land- 
ing, "  is  to  say  that  we  are  bards,  till  we  learn 
where  the  strength  of  the  king  is." 

"We  will  not  do  that,"  said  Oscar.  "We  will 
go  straight  forward,  and  bring  the  woman  back 
with  the  strength  of  our  arms." 

They  went  straight  from  the  strand  toward  the 
castle.  At  the  wayside  was  a  rath  where  the 
daughter  of  the  king  was  at  that  time,  and  no 
great  number  of  men  there  to  guard  her.  Goll 
and  Oscar  attacked  the  guards,  cut  them  down, 
and  took  Taov  Geal. 

"The  king  is  coming  home  from  a  hunt,"  said 
the  druid ;  "  it  is  better  to  hurry  back  to  our  ship.  " 

"We  will  sharpen  our  weapons,"  said  Oscar, 
"and  strike  the  king's  men,  if  they  come  toward 
us ;  but  do  you  take  the  woman,  and  go  in  all  haste 
to  the  ship.  We  will  stay  behind  to  protect  you. " 

The  druid  took  Taov  Geal,  who  was  willing  and 
glad,  when  she  heard  who  had  come  for  her. 

528  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

They  reached  the  ship  safely.  Goll  and  Oscar 
came  soon  after,  sprang  into  the  ship,  set  sail, 
and  never  stopped  till  they  brought  Teasa  Taov 
Geal  to  Fin  at  the  castle  of  the  King  of  Sorach. 
There  was  a  feast  then  far  greater  than  the  one 
which  the  High  King  had  interrupted  the  first 

"I  will  take  you  to  Erin,"  said  Fin  to  Taov 

"I  will  go  with  you,"  said  she. 

"I  know  the  Hard  Gilla  well,"  said  the  King 
of  Sorach  to  Fin  MacCool.  "I  will  go  with  you 
to  him;  he  is  a  great  champion,  and  a  mighty 

The  king  and  his  men,  with  Fin  and  the 
Fenians,  went  to  the  lands  of  the  Gilla;  and  when 
he  saw  them  all,  he  brought  them  into  his  castle, 
and  treated  them  well.  Dyeermud  and  the  King 
of  Tir  Fohin  were  there  also;  they  had  been 
enjoying  themselves,  and  feasting  with  the  Gilla, 
while  Fin  and  the  others  were  fighting  with  the 
High  King,  and  stealing  his  daughter. 

Conan  and  the  twenty-nine  Fenians  were  all 
in  good  health ;  and  Fin  had  the  daughter  of  the 
High  King  in  the  castle,  intending  to  take  her 
to  Erin. 

Said  Fin  to  the  Gilla  one  day,  "  It  was  you  and 
Conan  who  had  the  first  quarrel,  he  and  you  are 
the  men  who  began  these  adventures.  I  will 

Mac  Cool,  Hard  Gil  la,  and  High  King.   529 

leave  him  and  you  to  end  the  whole  story, 
Conan  is  not  easy  to  talk  with,  and  you  are  a 
hard  man  to  conquer." 

Conan  was  called  up. 

"What  have  you  to  say  of  our  host,"  inquired 
Fin;  "and  what  would  you  do  for  him?  " 

"  I  was  treated  here  as  well  as  you  have  ever 
treated  me  in  Fintra,  or  as  any  man  treated  me 
in  another  place,"  said  Conan.  "My  sentence  is 
this,  Let  him  come  to  Erin  with  us  in  our  ship, 
feast  with  us  in  Fintra,  and  ride  home  on  his  own 
horse. " 

"I  will  do  that,"  said  the  Gilla. 

Conan  and  the  Gilla,  with  all  the  Fenians,  went 
to  the  ship.  Fin  brought  the  daughter  of  the 
High  King  on  board,  and  all  sailed  away  to  Erin. 

The  Gilla  was  entertained  to  his  heart's  con- 
tent, till  one  day  he  said,  "  I  must  leave  you  now, 
and  go  to  my  own  place." 

Conan  and  a  number  of  Fenians  went  to  the 
seashore  to  see  him  ride  away.  "  Where  is  your 
horse  ?  "  asked  Conan. 

"Here,"  said  the  Gilla. 

Conan  turned  to  see  the  ugly  long-legged 
beast,  but  saw  nothing.  He  turned  then  to  look 
at  the  Gilla,  but  saw  only  mist  stretching  out 
toward  the  water. 



TT  was  predicted  seven  years  before  the  battle 
of  Ventry,  that  Daire  Bonn,  High  King 
of  the  Great  World,  would  invade  Erin  to  con- 
quer it.  Fin  MacCool,  for  this  reason,  placed 
sentries  at  the  chief  ports  of  Erin.  At  Ventry, 
Conn  Crithir  was  stationed  on  the  top  of  Cruach 
Varhin  to  give  warning;  but  he  overslept  when 
the  fleet  came :  and  the  first  news  he  had  of  its 
coming  was  from  the  cries  of  people  attacked 
by  the  invaders.  Conn  Crithir  sprang  up,  and 
said,  — 

"  Great  is  the  misery  that  has  come  by  my 
sleep;  but  Fin  and  the  Fenians  will  not  see  me 
alive  after  this.  I  will  rush  into  the  midst  of 
the  foreigners;  and  they  will  fall  by  me,  till  I 
fall  by  them." 

So  he  ran  down  toward  the  strand.  On  the 
way,  he  saw  three  strange  women  running  before 
him.  He  increased  his  speed;  but,  unable  to 
overtake  them,  he  caught  his  spear  to  hurl  it  at 
the  one  nearest  him. 

The  Battle  of  V en  try.  531 

The  women  stopped  that  moment,  and  cried, 
"  Stay  your  hand,  and  do  not  kill  innocent 
women  who  have  come  not  to  harm  but  to  help 

"Who  are  ye?"  asked  Conn  Crithir. 

"  We  are  three  sisters  who  have  come  from 
Tirnanog.  We  are  all  three  in  love  with  you; 
but  no  one  of  us  is  jealous  of  the  other.  We 
will  hide  you  with  an  enchanted  cloud,  so  that 
you  can  attack  the  foreign  forces  unseen.  We 
have  a  well  of  healing  at  the  foot  of  Sliav  lolar; 
and  its  waters  will  cure  every  wound  made  in 
battle.  After  bathing  in  it,  you  will  be  as  sound 
as  the  day  you  were  born." 

Conn  Crithir  was  grateful,  and  hurried  to  the 
strand,  where  he  slew  four  hundred  men  of  the 
enemy  on  the  first  day.  He  was  covered  with 
wounds  himself;  but  the  three  sisters  took  him 
to  the  well.  He  bathed  in  it,  and  was  as  sound 
as  on  the  day  he  was  born. 

Conn  Crithir  was  this  way  in  struggle  and  com- 
bat, till  Teastalach  Treunmhar,  the  chief  courier 
of  Fin  MacCool,  came  to  Ventry. 

"Have  you  tidings  of  Fin  and  the  Fenians?  " 
asked  Conn. 

"I  have.  They  are  at  the  River  Lee,"  said 

"Go  to  them  quickly,"  said   Conn,   "and  tell 

532  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

how  we  are  here.  Let  them  come  hither  to  save 

"  It  would  ill  become  me  to  go  till  I  had  mois- 
tened my  sword  in  the  blood  of  the  enemy,"  said 
Teastalach;  and  he  sent  a  challenge  for  single 
combat  to  the  High  King. 

"I  am  the  man  to  meet  that  warrior,"  said 
Colahan  MacDochar,  the  king's  champion;  and 
he  went  on  shore  without  waiting. 

Colahan  was  thirty  feet  in  height,  and  fifteen 
around  the  waist.  When  he  landed,  he  went  at 
Teastalach.  They  fought  one  hour,  and  fought 
with  such  fury,  the  two  of  them,  that  their 
swords  and  spears  went  to  pieces.  The  sword 
of  Colahan  was  broken  at  the  hilt;  but  of  Teas- 
talach's  blade  there  remained  a  piece  as  long  as 
the  breadth  of  a  man's  palm. 

Colahan,  who  was  enraged  that  any  champion 
could  stand  against  him  for  the  space  of  even 
one  hour,  seized  Teastalach  in  his  arms,  to  carry 
him  living  to  the  ship  of  the  High  King,  twist 
off  his  head  there,  and  raise  it  on  a  stake  before 
the  forces  of  the  world.  When  he  came  to  deep 
water,  he  raised  Teastalach  on  his  shoulder;  but 
Teastalach,  the  swift  courier  of  Fin  MacCool, 
turned  quickly,  cut  the  head  off  his  enemy, 
brought  that  head  to  the  strand,  and  made  boast 
of  his  deed. 

The  Battle  of  Ventry.  533 

Now  Teastalach  went  to  where  Fin  and  his 
forces  were,  and  told  him  of  all  that  happened. 
Fin  marched  straightway,  and  never  stopped  nor 
rested  till  he  came  to  Maminch,  within  twenty 
miles  of  Ventry.  Fin  rested  there  for  the  night; 
but  Oscar,  son  of  Oisin,  with  Conn  Ceadach  and 
one  other,  went  forward.  Before  going,  Oscar 
turned  to  Fin,  and  said,  "  Chew  your  thumb,  and 
tell  us  what  will  be  the  end  of  our  struggle." 

Fin  chewed  his  thumb  from  the  skin  to  the 
flesh,  from  the  flesh  to  the  bone,  from  the  bone 
to  the  marrow,  from  the  marrow  to  the  juice,  and 
said,  "The  victory  will  be  on  our  side,  but  little 
else  will  be  with  us.  The  battle  will  last  for  a 
day  and  a  year,  and  every  day  will  be  a  day  of 
fierce  struggle.  No  man  of  the  foreigners  will 
escape;  and  on  our  side  few  will  be  left  living, 
and  none  without  wounds." 

Oscar  went  his  way  then  till  he  reached  Ven- 
try. Fin  came  on  the  second  day,  and  stopped 
with  all  his  forces  at  Rahonain.  Next  morning, 
he  asked,  "Who  will  command  the  battle  to- 

"We  will  go  with  two  hundred,"  said  Oisin 
and  Oscar. 

They  went  toward  the  harbor;  and  a  great  troop 
landed  to  meet  them.  The  two  parties  faced 
each  other  then,  and  fought  till  near  evening; 

534  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

when  all  were  killed  on  the  side  of  the  foreigners 
except  three  smiths,  and  of  Fin's  men  there 
remained  only  Oisin,  Oscar,  and  Goll,  son  of 

On  the  following  morning,  Oisin  and  Oscar 
went  with  two  hundred  more,  but  without  Goll. 
The  foreign  troop  came  in  numbers  as  before: 
and  at  midday  there  was  no  man  left  living  of 
Fin's  men  but  Oisin  and  Oscar;  on  the  foreign 
side  all  had  fallen  except  the  three  smiths,  who 
were  mighty  champions.  Oscar  and  Oisin  faced 
the  smiths.  Oscar  had  two  men  against  him; 
and  Oisin's  enemy  was  forcing  him  backward 
toward  the  water.  Fin,  seeing  this,  feared  for 
his  son,  and  sent  a  poet  to  praise  and  encourage 

"  Now  is  the  time  to  prove  your  valor  and 
greatness,  Oisin",  said  the  poet.  "You  never 
went  to  any  place  but  a  king's  daughter,  or  a 
high  beauty,  fell  in  love  with  you.  Many  are 
looking  this  day  at  you;  and  now  is  your  time 
to  show  bravery." 

Oisin  was  greatly  encouraged;  so  he  grew  in 
fury  and  increased  on  his  blows,  till  at  last  he 
swept  the  head  off  his  enemy.  About  the  same 
time,  Oscar  killed  the  two  other  smiths;  but, 
being  faint  from  open  wounds  and  blood-loss,  he 
fell  senseless  on  the  strand.  Oisin,  his  father, 

The  Battle  of  V en  try.  535 

rushed  to  him,  and  held  him  till  aid  came.  They 
carried  him  to  Rahonain,  where,  after  a  long 
time,  he  revived. 

The  smiths  had  one  brother  in  the  fleet  of  the 
High  King,  and  his  name  was  Dealv  Dura.  This 
man,  who  was  the  first  champion  in  the  armies 
of  the  High  King,  fell  into  great  grief,  and 
swore  to  have  vengeance  for  his  brothers.  He 
went  to  the  High  King,  and  said,  "I  will  go 
alone  to  the  strand,  and  will  slay  two  hundred 
men  every  day  till  I  have  slain  all  the  forces  of 
Erin;  and  if  any  man  of  your  troops  interfere, 
I  will  kill  him." 

Next  morning,  Fin  asked  who  would  conduct 
the  battle  on  that  day. 

"I  will,"  said  Duvan,  son  of  Donn,  "with  two 
hundred  men." 

"  Go  not,"  said  Fin.      "  Let  another  go." 

But  Duvan  went  to  the  strand  with  two  hun- 
dred; and  there  was  no  one  before  him  but  Dealv 
Dura,  who  demanded  two  hundred  men  in  com- 
bat. A  shout  of  derision  went  up  from  Duvan's 
men;  but  Dealv  rushed  at  them,  and  he  slew  the 
two  hundred  without  a  man  of  them  being  able 
to  put  a  sword-cut  on  him.  Then,  taking  a  hur- 
ley and  ball,  Dealv  Dura  threw  up  the  ball,  and 
kept  it  in  the  air  with  the  hurley  from  the 
western  to  the  eastern  end  of  the  strand,  without 

536  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

letting  it  touch  the  ground  even  one  time.  Then, 
he  put  the  ball  on  his  right  foot,  and  kicked  it  high 
in  the  air;  when  it  was  near  the  earth,  he  sent  it 
up  with  the  left  foot,  and  kept  the  ball  in  the 
air  with  his  two  feet,  and  never  let  it  touch  the 
earth  once,  while  he  was  rushing  from  one  end 
of  the  strand  to  the  other.  Next,  he  put  the  ball 
on  his  right  knee,  sent  it  up  with  that,  caught 
it  on  the  left  knee,  and  kept  the  ball  in  the  air 
with  his  two  knees  while  he  was  running  from 
one  end  of  the  strand  to  the  other.  Last,  he  put 
the  ball  on  one  shoulder,  threw  it  up  with  that 
shoulder,  caught  it  on  the  other,  and  kept  the 
ball  in  the  air  with  his  two  shoulders  while  he 
was  rushing  like  a  blast  of  March  wind  from  one 
end  of  the  strand  to  the  other. 

When  he  had  finished,  he  walked  back  and 
forth  on  the  strand  vauntingly,  and  challenged 
the  men  of  Erin  to  do  the  like  of  those  feats. 

Next  day,  Fin  sent  out  two  hundred  men. 
Dealv  Dura  was  down  on  the  strand  before  them, 
and  not  a  man  of  the  two  hundred  returned. 

Day  after  day,  two  hundred  went  out,  and  all 
fell  before  Dealv  Dura.  A  report  ran  now 
through  all  Erin  that  Fin's  troops  were  perish- 
ing daily  from  one  man ;  and  this  report  reached 
at  last  the  castle  of  the  King  of  Ulster.  The 
king  had  one  son,  and  he  only  thirteen  years  of 

The  Battle  of  Ventry.  537 

age.  This  son,  who  was  the  fairest  and  shape- 
liest youth  in  Erin,  said  to  his  father,  "  Let  me 
go  to  help  Fin  MacCool  and  his  men." 

"  You  are  not  old  enough,  nor  strong  enough, 
my  son;  your  bones  are  too  soft." 

When  the  youth  insisted,  his  father  confined 
him,  and  set  twelve  youths,  his  own  foster- 
brothers,  to  guard  him,  lest  he  might  escape  to 
Ventry  Strand. 

The  king's  son  was  enraged  at  being  confined, 
and  said  to  his  foster-brothers,  "It  is  through 
valor  and  daring  that  my  father  gained  glory  in 
his  young  years;  and  why  should  I  not  win  a 
name  as  well  as  he  ?  Help  me,  and  I  will  be  a 
friend  to  you  forever." 

He  talked  and  persuaded,  till  they  agreed  to 
go  with  him  to  Fin  MacCool.  They  took  arms 
then,  hurried  across  Erin,  and,  when  they  came  to 
Ventry,  Dealv  Dura  was  on  the  strand  reviling 
the  Fenians. 

"O  Fenians  of  Erin,"  said  Oisin,  "many  have 
fallen  by  Dealv  Dura;  and  I  would  rather  die  in 
combat  against  him,  than  see  the  ruin  he  brings 
every  day! " 

A  great  cry  was  raised  by  all  at  these  words. 

Now  the  son  of  the  King  of  Ulster  stood  before 
Fin,  and  saluted  him. 

"  Who  are  you?  "  asked  Fin. 

538  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

"  I  am  Goll,  son  of  the  King  of  Ulster,  and 
these  twelve  are  my  foster-brothers.  We  have 
come  to  give  you  what  assistance  we  can. " 

"My  welcome  to  you,"  said  Fin. 

The  reviling  of  Dealv  Dura  was  heard  now 

"Who  is  that?"  asked  the  king's  son  from 

"  An  enemy  asking  for  two  hundred  warriors  of 
mine  to  meet  him,"  said  Fin. 

Here  the  twelve  foster-brothers  went  to  the 
strand,  unknown  to  the  king's  son. 

"You  are  not  a  man,"  said  Conan  Maol,  "and 
none  of  these  twelve  could  face  any  warrior." 

"I  have  never  seen  the  Fenians  till  this  day," 
said  the  king's  son,  "still  I  know  that  you  are 
Conan  Maol,  who  never  speaks  well  of  any  man ; 
but  you  will  see  that  I  am  not  in  dread  of  Dealv 
Dura,  or  any  champion  on  earth.  I  will  go  down 
now,  and  meet  the  warrior  single-handed." 

Fin  and  the  Fenians  stopped  the  young  hero, 
and  detained  him,  and  talked  to  him.  Then, 
Conan  began  again,  and  said,  "  In  six  days  that 
champion  has  slain  twelve  hundred  men;  and 
there  was  not  a  man  of  the  twelve  hundred  who 
could  not  have  killed  twelve  hundred  like  you 
every  day." 

These   words    enraged    the    king's    son.      He 

The  Battle  of  Ventry.  539 

sprang  up,  and  then  heard  the  shouting  of  Dealv 
Dura  on  the  strand.  "What  does  he  want  now?  " 
asked  the  king's  son. 

"More  men  for  combat,"  said  Conan.  "He 
has  just  slain  your  twelve  body-guards." 

With  that  the  king's  son  seized  his  weapons, 
and  no  man  could  stop  or  delay  him.  He 
rushed  to  the  strand,  and  went  toward  Dealv 
Dura.  When  the  champion  saw  the  youth  com- 
ing, he  sneered,  and  the  hosts  of  the  High  King 
sent  up  a  roar  of  laughter;  for  they  thought  Fin's 
men  were  all  killed,  since  he  had  sent  a  strip- 
ling to  meet  Dealv  Dura.  The  courage  of  the 
boy  was  all  the  greater  from  the  derision ;  and 
he  rushed  on  Dealv  Dura,  who  got  many  wounds 
from  the  youth  before  he  knew  it. 

They  fought  a  sharp,  bloody  combat ;  and  no 
matter  how  the  champion,  Dealv  Dura,  used  his 
strength,  swiftness,  and  skill,  he  was  met  by  the 
king's  son:  and  if  the  world  could  be  searched, 
from  its  eastern  edge  to  its  western  border,  no 
braver  battle  would  be  found  than  was  that  one. 

The  two  fought  through  the  day,  the  hosts  of 
the  Great  World  and  the  Fenians  cheering  and 
urging  them  on.  Toward  evening  their  shields 
were  hacked  to  pieces,  and  their  weapons  all 
shivered,  but  they  did  not  stop  the  battle;  they 
grappled  and  caught  each  other,  and  fought  so 

540  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

that  the  sand  on  the  beach  was  boiling  like  water 
beneath  them.  They  wrestled  that  way,  seeing 
nothing  in  the  world  but  each  other,  till  the  tide 
of  the  sea  went  over  them,  and  drowned  the  two 
there  before  the  eyes  of  the  Fenians  and  the 
hosts  of  the  High  King. 

A  great  cry  of  wailing  and  sorrow  was  raised 
on  both  sides,  when  the  water  closed  over  the 
champions.  Next  morning,  after  the  tide-ebb, 
the  two  bodies  were  found  stiff  and  cold,  each 
one  in  the  grasp  of  the  other;  but  Dealv  Dura 
was  under  the  king's  son,  so  it  was  known  that 
the  youth  ,was  a  better  man  than  the  other. 

The  king's  son  was  buried  with  great  honor  by 
the  Fenians;  and  never  before  did  they  mourn  for 
a  hero  as  on  that  day. 

"Who  will  command  the  battle  this  time?" 
asked  Fin,  on  the  following  morning. 

"I  and  my  son  Oscar,"  said  Oisin. 

They  went  to  the  strand  with  two  hundred 
men;  and  against  them  came  the  King  of  France 
with  his  forces.  The  two  sides  fought  with  such 
venom  that  at  midday  there  was  no  one  alive  on 
either  side  but  Oscar,  Oisin,  and  the  King  of 
France.  The  king  and  Oisin  were  fighting  at 
the  eastern  end  of  Ventry;  and  the  king  gave 
such  a  blow  that  he  knocked  a  groan  from 
Oisin.  Oscar,  who  was  at  the  western  end  of 

The  Battle  of  Veiitry.  541 

the  strand  then, —  Oscar,  of  noble  deeds,  the  man 
with  a  heart  that  never  knew  fear,  and  a  foot  that 
never  stepped  back  before  many  or  few,  —  rushed 
to  see  who  had  injured  his  father;  and  the  noise 
that  he  made  was  like  the  noise  of  fifty  horses 
while  racing. 

The  king  looked  toward  the  point  where  the 
thundering  sound  was,  and  saw  Oscar  coming. 
He  knew  then  that  unless  he  escaped  he  had  not 
long  to  live;  his  beauty  and  bravery  left  him, 
and  his  terror  was  like  that  of  a  hundred  horses 
at  the  sound  of  a  thunderbolt.  Lightness  of  mind 
and  body  came  on  him;  he  stretched  himself, 
sprang  up,  flew  through  the  air,  and  never 
stopped  till  he  came  down  in  Glean  nan  Allt,  — 
a  place  to  which,  since  that  time,  insane  per- 
sons go,  and  every  madman  in  Erin  would  go 
there  in  twenty  four  hours,  if  people  would  let 

In  the  battle  of  the  next  day,  the  King  of  Nor- 
way was  chief;  and  there  was  never  such  destruc- 
tion of  men  in  Erin  before  as  on  that  day.  This 
king  had  a  venomous  shield  with  red  flames,  and 
if  it  were  put  under  the  sea  not  one  of  its  flames 
would  stop  blazing,  and  the  king  himself  was  not 
hotter  from  any  of  them.  When  he  had  the  shield 
on  his  arm  no  man  could  come  near  him ;  and 
he  went  against  the  Fenians  with  only  a  sword. 
Not  to  use  weapon  had  he  come,  but  to  let  the 

542  Hero- Tales  of  Ireland. 

poison  of  his  shield  fly  among  them.  The  balls 
of  fire  that  he  sent  from  the  shield  went  through 
the  bodies  of  men,  so  that  each  blazed  up  like  a 
splinter  of  oak  which  had  hung  a  whole  year  in 
the  smoke  of  a  chimney,  and  whoever  touched 
the  burning  man,  blazed  up  as  well  as  he;  and 
small  was  every  evil  that  came  into  Erin  before, 
when  compared  with  that  evil. 

"Lift  up  your  hands,"  said  Fin,  "and  give 
three  shouts  of  blessing  to  the  man  who  will  put 
some  delay  on  that  foreigner." 

A  smile  came  on  the  king's  face  when  he  heard 
the  shouts  that  Fin's  men  were  giving.  It  was 
then  that  the  Chief  of  the  Fenians  of  Ulster  came 
near;  and  he  had  a  venomous  spear,  the  Crodearg. 
He  looked  at  the  King  of  Norway,  and  saw  noth- 
ing of  him  without  armor,  save  his  mouth,  and 
that  open  wide  in  laughter  at  the  Fenians.  He 
made  a  cast  of  his  venomous  spear,  which  entered 
the  king's  mouth,  and  went  out  through  his  neck. 
The  shield  fell,  and  its  blazing  was  quenched  with 
the  life  of  its  master.  The  chief  cut  the  head 
off  the  king,  and  made  boast  of  the  deed;  and  his 
help  was  the  best  that  the  Fenians  received  from 
any  man  of  their  own  men.  Many  were  the  deeds 
of  that  day;  and  but  few  of  the  forces  of  the  High 
King  went  back  to  their  ships  in  the  evening. 

On  the  following  day,  the  foreigners  came  in 
thousands;  for  the  High  King  had  resolved  to 

The  Battle  of  Ventry.  543 

put  an  and  to  the   struggle.      Conan   Maol,   who 

never  spoke  well  of  any  man,  had  a  power  which 
he  knew  not  himself,  and  which  no  one  in  Erin 
knew  except  Fin.  When  Conan  looked  through 
his  fingers  at  any  man,  that  man  fell  dead  the 
next  instant. 

Fin  never  told  Conan  of  this,  and  never  told 
any  one;  for  he  knew  that  Conan  would  kill  all 
the  Fenians  when  he  got  vexed  if  he  knew  his 
own  power.  When  the  foreigners  landed,  Fin 
sent  a  party  of  men  with  Conan  to  a  suitable 
place,  so  that  when  the  enemy  were  attacking, 
these  men  would  look  with  Conan  through  their 
fingers  at  the  enemy,  and  pray  for  assistance 
against  them. 

When  Conan  and  his  men  looked  through  their 
fingers,  the  enemy  fell  dead  in  great  numbers, 
and  no  one  knew  that  it  was  Conan's  look  alone, 
without  prayers  or  assistance  from  others,  that 
slew  them. 

Conan  and  his  company  stood  there  all  day, 
looking  through  their  fingers  and  praying,  when- 
ever a  new  face  made  its  way  from  the  harbor. 

The  struggle  lasted  day  after  day,  till  his  men 
spoke  to  the  High  King  and  said  to  him,  "We 
can  never  conquer  unless  you  meet  Fin  in  single 

The  king  challenged  Fin  to  meet  him  on  the 
third  day.  Fin  accepted,  though  he  was  greatly 

544  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

in  dread;  for  he  knew  that  the  trunk  of  the  High 
King's  body  was  formed  of  one  bone,  and  that  no 
sword  in  the  world  could  cut  it  but  the  king's  own 
sword,  which  was  kept  in  the  Eastern  World  by 
his  grandsire,  the  King  of  the  Land  of  the  White 
Men.  That  old  king  had  seven  chambers  in  a 
part  of  his  castle,  one  inside  the  other.  On  the 
door  of  the  outer  chamber  was  one  lock,  on  the 
second  two,  and  so  on  to  the  door  of  the  seventh 
and  innermost  chamber,  which  had  seven  locks, 
and  in  that  chamber  the  sword  and  shield  of  the 
High  King  were  kept.  In  the  service  of  Daire 
Donn  was  a  champion,  a  great  wizard,  who  wished 
ill  to  the  High  King.  This  man  went  to  Fin, 
and  said,  "  I  will  bring  you  the  sword  and  shield 
from  the  Eastern  World." 

"Good  will  be  my  reward  to  you,"  said  Fin, 
"if  you  bring  them  in  time." 

Away  went  the  man  in  a  cloud  of  enchantment, 
and  soon  stood  before  the  old  king.  "  Your 
grandson,"  said  he,  "is  to  fight  with  Fin  Mac- 
Cool,  and  has  sent  me  for  his  weapons." 

The  old  king  had  the  sword  and  shield  brought 
quickly,  and  gave  them.  The  man  hurried  back 
to  Erin,  and  gave  the  weapons  to  Fin  on  the  eve 
of  the  battle. 

Next  morning,  the  High  King  came  to  the 
strand  full  of  confidence.  Believing  himself  safe, 
he  thought  he  could  kill  Fin  MacCool  easily; 

The  Battle  of  V entry.  545 

but  when  he  stood  in  front  of  the  chief  of  the 
Fenians,  and  saw  his  own  venomous  sword  un- 
sheathed in  the  hand  of  his  enemy,  and  knew  that 
death  was  fated  him  from  that  blade,  his  face  left 
him  for  a  moment,  and  his  fingers  were  unsteady. 

He  rallied,  and  thinking  to  win  by  surprise, 
rushed  suddenly,  fiercely  and  mightily,  to  combat. 
One  of  Fin's  men  sprang  out,  and  dealt  a  great 
blow  with  a  broadaxe;  it  laid  open  the  helmet,  cut 
some  of  the  hair  of  the  High  King,  but  touched 
not  the  skin  of  his  body.  The  High  King  with 
one  blow  made  two  parts  of  the  Fenian,  and, 
rushing  at  Fin,  cut  a  slice  from  his  shield,  and  a 
strip  of  flesh  from  his  thigh.  Fin  gave  one  blow 
then  in  answer,  which  made  two  equal  parts  of 
the  king,  so  that  one  eye,  one  ear,  one  arm,  and 
one  leg  of  him  dropped  on  one  side,  arid  the 
other  eye,  ear,  arm,  and  leg  went  to  the  other 

Now,  the  hosts  of  the  High  King,  and  the 
Fenians  of  Erin,  fought  till  there  was  no  man 
standing  in  the  field  except  one.  He  raised  the 
body  of  the  High  King,  and  said,  "It  was  bad 
for  us,  O  Fenians  of  Erin,  but  worse  for  you ;  I  go 
home  in  health,  and  ye  have  fallen  side  by  side. 
I  will  come  again  soon,  and  take  all  Erin." 

"Sad  am  I,"  said  Fin,  as  he  lay  on  the  field, 
"  that  I  did  not  find  death  before  I  heard  these 


546  Hero-Tales  of  Ireland. 

words  from  the  mouth  of  a  foreigner,  and  he 
going  into  the  Great  World  with  tidings.  Is 
there  any  man  alive  near  me?" 

"I  am,"  said  Fergus  Finbel;  "and  there  is  no 
warrior  who  is  not  lying  in  his  blood  save  the 
chief  man  of  the  High  King  and  your  own  foster- 
son,  Caol. " 

"Go  to  seek  my  foster-son,"  said  Fin. 

Fergus  went  to  Caol,  and  asked  him  how  his 
health  was.  "  If  my  battle-harness  were  loosened, 
my  body  would  fall  asunder  from  wounds;  but 
more  grieved  am  I  at  the  escape  of  the  foreigner 
with  tidings  than  at  my  own  woful  state.  Take 
me  to  the  sea,  Fergus,  that  I  may  swim  after  the 
foreigner;  perhaps  he  will  fall  by  this  hand 
before  the  life  leaves  me." 

Fergus  took  him  to  the  sea;  and  he  swam  to 
the  ship.  The  foreigner  thought  him  one  of  his 
own  men,  and  reached  down  to  raise  him  to  the 
ship-board;  but  Caol  grasped  the  man  firmly  and 
drew  him  to  the  water.  Both  sank  in  the  clear, 
cold  sea,  and  were  drowned. 

No  man  saw  the  foreigner  afterward ;  but  Caol's 
body  was  carried  by  the  waves,  borne  northward, 
and  past  the  islands,  till  it  came  to  land,  at  the 
port  which  is  now  called  Caoil  Cuan  (Gaol's 



THE  tales  in  this  volume  were  told  me  by  the  following 
persons  :  — 

Nos.  i,  5,  18,  21.     Maurice  Lynch,  Mount  Eagle,  West 

of  Dingle,  Kerry. 

Nos.  2,  n,  24.    John  Malone,  Rahonain,  West  of  Dingle. 
Nos.  3,  15.  Shea,  Kil  Vicadowny,  West  of  Dingle. 

No.  4.     Thomas  Brady,  Teelin,  County  Donegal. 
No.  6.     Maurice  Fitzgerald,  Emilich  Slat,  West  of  Dingle. 
Nos.  7,  9,  12,  17.     John  O'Brien,  Connemara. 
No.  8.     James  Byrne,  Glen  Columkil,  County  Donegal. 
Nos.  10,  14.     Colman  Gorm,  Connemara. 
No.  13.     Michael  Curran,  Gortahork,  County  Donegal. 
No.  1 6.     Michael  O'Conor,  six  miles  north  of  Newcastle 

West,  County  Limerick. 
Nos.  19,  20.     Michael  Sullivan,  Dingle. 
No.  22.     Dyeermud  Duvane,  Milltown,  County  Kerry. 
No.  23.     Daniel  Sheehy,   Dunquin,  Kerry,   a  man  over 

a  hundred  years  old. 

EHn  Gow,  the  Swordsmith  from  Erin,  and  the  Cow 
Glas  Gainach. 

Glas  Gainach.  In  this  name  of  the  celebrated  cow 
glas  means  gray;  gainach  is  a  corruption  of  gaunach, 
written  gamhnack^  which  means  a  cow  whose  calf  is  a 

550  Notes. 

year  old,  that  is,  a  cow  without  a  calf  that  year,  a  farrow 
cow.  Gamhnach  is  an  adjective  from  gamhan,  a  year- 
ling calf. 

In  Donegal,  gavlen  is  used  instead  of  gaunach  ;  and  the 
best  story-teller  informed  me  that  gavlen  means  a  cow 
that  has  not  had  a  calf  for  five  years.  He  gave  the  terms 
for  cows  that  have  not  had  calves  for  one,  two,  three, 
four,  and  five  years.  These  terms  I  wrote  down ;  but 
unfortunately  they  are  not  accessible  at  present.  The 
first  in  the  series  is  gaunach,  the  last  gavlen ;  the  inter- 
vening ones  I  cannot  recall. 

King  Under  the  Wave  is  a  personage  met  with  fre- 
quently in  Gaelic ;  his  name  is  descriptive  enough,  and 
his  character  more  or  less  clear  in  other  tales. 

Cluainte  is  a  place  in  the  parish  of  Bally  Ferriter,  the 
westernmost  district  in  Ireland.  The  site  of  Elin  Gow's 
house  and  forge  was  pointed  out  by  the  man  who  told 
the  story,  also  the  stone  pillars  between  which  the  cow 
used  to  stand  and  scratch  her  two  sides  at  once  when 
coming  home  from  pasture  in  the  evening.  The  pillars 
are  thirteen  feet  and  a  half  apart,  so  that  Glas  Gainach 
had  a  bulky  body. 

Glas  Gainach  went  away  finally  through  the  bay  called 
Ferriter's  Cove.  In  Gaelic,  this  bay  is  Caoil  Cuan 
(Gaol's  harbor),  so  called  because  the  body  of  Caol, 
foster-son  of  Fin  MacCool,  was  washed  in  there  after  the 
Battle  of  Ventry.  (See  last  paragraph  of  the  Battle  of 

Saudan  Og  and  the  Daughter  of  the  King  of  Spain,  &c. 

Saudan  Og  means  young  Sultan.  This  is  a  curious 
naturalization  of  the  son  of  the  Sultan  in  Ireland,  a  very 

Notes.  551 

striking  example  of  the  substitution  of  new  heroes  in  old 

Conal  Gulban  was  the  great  grandfather  of  Columbkil, 
founder  of  lona  and  apostle  of  Scotland  ;  hence,  he  lived 
a  good  many  years  before  any  King  of  the  Turks  could 
be  in  any  place.  In  a  certain  tale  of  three  brothers  which 
I  have  heard,  the  narrator  made  "  two  halves  "  of  Mark 
Antony,  the  three  heroes  being  Mark,  Antony,  and 

Laian,  written  Laighean  in  Gaelic,  means  Leinster; 
the  King  of  Laian  is  King  of  Leinster. 

The  Black  Thief. 

There  are  many  variants  of  this  tale,  both  in  the  north 
and  south  of  Ireland.  It  seems  to  have  been  a  great 
favorite,  and  is  mentioned  often,  though  few  know  it  well. 

There  are  versions  connected  with  Killarney  and  the 

The  adventures  in  the  present  tale  are  very  striking. 
It  would  be  difficult  indeed  to  have  narrower  escapes 
than  those  of  the  Black  Thief. 

The  racing  of  the  cats  through  all  underground  Erin  is 
paralleled  in  Indian  tales,  especially  those  of  the  Modocs, 
in  which  immense  journeys  are  made  underground. 

The  King's  Son  from  Erin,  the  Sprisawn,  and  the 

Dark  King. 

Lochlinn  is  used  to  mean  Denmark,  though  there  is 
no  connection  whatever  between  the  names.  Lochlinn 
is  doubtless  one  of  the  old  names  in  Gaelic  tales,  and 
referred  to  some  kind  of  water  region.  Instead  of  put- 

552  Notes. 

ting  the  name  "  Denmark  "  in  place  of  the  name  "  Loch- 
linn,"  it  was  said  in  this  case  that  Lochlinn  was  Denmark. 
Other  regions  or  kingdoms  in  the  old  tales  lost  their 
names :  Spain,  Sicily,  Greece,  France  were  put  in  place 
of  them  ;  we  have  lost  the  clew  to  what  they  were.  Loch- 
linn  has  a  look  that  invites  investigation.  Were  all  the 
people  of  Lochlinn,  creatures  of  the  water,  turned  by 
Gaelic  tale-tellers  into  Scandinavians  ?  Very  likely. 

In  the  stealing  of  Manus,  we  have  a  case  similar  to 
that  of  Tobit  in  the  Apocrypha. 

I  know  of  no  parallel  to  the  scene  in  the  three  cham- 
bers with  the  chains  and  the  cross-beams.  It  is  terribly 
grim  and  merciless.  There  was  no  chance  for  the  weak 
in  those  chambers. 

The  work  of  the  serpent  in  drying  the  lake  by  lashing 
it,  and  sending  the  water  in  showers  over  the  country,  is 
equalled  in  an  Indian  tale  by  ducks  which  rise  from  a 
lake  suddenly,  and  in  such  incredible  numbers  that  they 
take  all  the  water  away,  carry  off  the  lake  with  them. 

Amadan  Mor. 

The  boyhood  of  the  Amadan  Mor  has  some  resem- 
blance to  that  of  the  Russian  hero,  Ilya  Muromets,  who 
sat  so  many  years  in  the  ashes  without  power  to  rise. 

The  fear  of  stopping  in  unknown  places^fmds  expres- 
sion frequently  in  Indian  tales,  and  arises  from  the  fact 
that  the  visitor  does  not  know  what  spirits  inhabit  them, 
and  therefore  does  not  know  how  to  avoid  offending 
those  spirits.  Eilin  Og  seems  to  have  a  similar  idea  in 
the  dark  glen. 

Notes.  553 

Cud,  Cad,  and  Micad. 

Urhu  is  called  Nurhu  sometimes,  and  appears  to  be 
the  same  as  the  old  English  Norroway,  Norway.  Hadone 
is  said  to  be  Sicily. 

Cahal,  Son  of  King  Conor. 

In  this  tale  we  have  a  number  of  elemental  heroes, 
such  as  Striker  and  Wet  Mantle.  Against  Striker,  the 
great  blower,  no  one  can  do  anything  at  sea.  This  is  the 
kind  of  hero  who  can  walk  on  the  water,  or  at  least  who 
never  sinks  in  it  much  beyond  his  ankles.  This  Striker 
appears  in  another  story  as  a  giant  out  in  the  ocean, 
which  he  is  beating  with  a  club. 

In  Wet  Mantle,  whose  virtue  is  in  his  cloak,  which  is 
rain  itself,  we  have  an  excellent  friend  for  a  rain-maker. 


This  is  a  good  hero,  an  excellent  herdsman  and  cattle- 
thief.  What  a  splendid  cowboy  he  would  be  in  the 
Indian  Territory  or  Wyoming.  He  has  a  good  strain  of 
simplicity  and  heroism  in  him.  The  bottle  of  water  that 
is  never  drained,  is  like  the  basket  of  trout's  blood  (also 
water)  in  the  Indian  tale  of  Walokit  and  Tumukit. 

Lawn  Dyarrig,  Son  of  the  King  of  Erin,  and  the  Knight 
of  Terrible  Valley. 

The  serpent  that  sleeps  seven  years  can  be  matched 
by  monsters  in  American  tales.  The  hearts  of  these 
creatures  are  sliced  away  by  heroes  who  go  down  their 



throats  and  find  other  people  before  them,  alive,  but 
unable  to  escape.  Sometimes  the  monster  is  killed ; 
sometimes  it  is  weakened  and  rendered  comparatively 
harmless.  There  was  an  Indian  monster  of  this  kind 
in  the  Columbia  River,  near  the  Dalles,  and  one  in  the 
Klamath  River,  near  its  mouth. 

Balor  and  Glas  Gavlen. 

This  was  a  great  tale  in  the  old  time ;  but  it  is  badly 
broken  up  now.  If  we  could  discover  who  Balor  and 
his  daughter  were  really,  we  might,  perhaps,  be  able  to 
understand  why  his  grandson  was  fated  to  kill  him.  The 
theft  of  Glas  Gavlen  is  the  first  act  in  a  series  which  ends 
with  the  death  of  Balor.  No  doubt  the  whole  story  is  as 
natural  as  that  of  Wimaloimis,  the  grisly-bear  cloud- 
woman  (Introduction)  who  tries  to  eat  her  own  sons, 
lightning  and  thunder,  and  is  killed  by  them  afterward. 

Art,  the  King's  Son. 

This  is  a  striking  tale,  the  head  following  the  body  of 
the  gruagach  into  the  earth  is  peculiar.  The  pursuit  of 
Art  by  Balor  is  as  vigorous  as  it  could  be.  Shall  we  say 
that  the  blade  of  the  screeching  sword  is  lightning,  and 
the  screech  itself  thunder? 

In  Balor's  account  of  how  his  wife  maltreated  him,  we 
have  the  incident  of  the  infant  saved  by  the  faithful 
animal.  Balor,  however,  when  a  wolf,  saved  himself  by 
prompt  action  from  the  fate  of  Llewelyn's  dog  and  that 
of  the  ichneumen  in  the  Sanscrit  tale. 

There  is  no  more  interesting  fact  than  this  in  myth 

Notes.  *  555 

tales,  that  no  matter  how  good  the  hero,  he  must  have 
the  right  weapon.  Often  there  is  only  one  spear  or 
sword,  or  one  kind  of  spear  or  sword,  in  the  world  with 
which  a  certain  deed  can  be  done.  The  hero  must  have 
that  weapon  or  fail. 

Shawn  Mac  Breogan. 

In  Gaelic,  we  meet  more  frequently  the  cloak  of  dark- 
ness, a  cloak  of  effacement.  In  this  tale  we  have  a  cloak 
or  mantle  of  power,  one  that  makes  the  wearer  the  finest 
person  in  the  world.  This  is  like  the  mantle  of  the 
prophet,  which,  if  it  falls  on  a  successor  to  the  office,  gives 
him  power  equal  to  that  of  his  predecessor.  Of  a 
similar  character  is  the  garment  of  the  Wet  Mantle 
Hero,  in  Cahal,  son  of  King  Conor,  whose  power  is  in 
his  mantle,  which  is  rain  itself. 

In  a  certain  Indian  tale,  two  skins  are  described,  —  one 
the  skin  of  a  black  rain  cloud,  the  other  the  skin  of  a 
gray  snow  cloud  ;  whenever  rain  is  wanted,  the  black  skin 
is  shaken  out  in  the  air,  when  snow  is  desired,  the  gray 
one  is  shaken.  This  shaking  is  done  by  two  deities  in  the 
sky  (stones  at  present),  who  thus  produce  rain  and  snow 
ad  libitum.  The  mantles  of  power  were  skins  origi- 
nally. When  people  had  forgotten  the  special  virtue  of 
the  skins,  and  mantles  were  of  cloth  or  skin  indifferently, 
or  later  on  of  cloth  exclusively,  the  virtue  connected  with 
mantles  by  tradition  remained  to  them  without  reference 
to  material. 

In  Hungarian  tales  the  food  of  the  steed,  very  often  a 
mare,  is  glowing  coals.  There  are  Hungarian  tales  in 
which  little  if  any  doubt  is  left  that  the  steed  is  lightning. 

556  Notes. 

It  was  a  steed  of  this  character  that  carried  Cahal,  son 
of  King  Conor,  to  Striker's  castle,  a  place  to  which  no 
ship  could  go. 

The  skin  of  the  white  mare  is  like  the  skin  of  Klakher- 
rit  or  Pitis  in  the  Indian  tale.  When  the  young  woman 
puts  on  the  skin,  she  becomes  the  white  mare  ;  when  she 
takes  it  off,  she  is  herself  again. 

The  Cotter's  Son  and  the  Half  Slim  Champion. 

Instead  of  a  king's  son,  the  more  usual  substitute  for 
an  earlier  hero,  we  have  in  this  tale  a  cotter's  son.  The 
scene  of  shaking  ashes  from  his  person  by  a  mourner  who 
has  sat  by  the  fire  for  a  long  time,  finds  a  parallel  in 
Indian  stories.  The  Gaelic  heroes,  however,  manage  to 
get  vastly  more  ashes  onto  themselves  than  the  Indians. 
The  son  of  the  King  of  Lochlin  in  this  case  shakes  off 
seven  tons.  In  one  Irish  tale  that  I  know,  the  hero  goes 
out  into  the  field  after  mourning  long  at  the  hearth,  and 
shakes  from  his  person  an  amount  of  ashes  that  covers 
seven  acres  in  front  of  him,  seven  acres  behind  him, 
seven  acres  on  his  right  hand,  and  seven  acres  on  his 

The  old  King  of  Lochlin,  who  has  the  same  kind  of 
story  to  tell  as  Balor,  is  a  tremendously  stubborn  old 
fellow ;  there  is  a  savage  cruelty  in  the  torture  which  his 
son  inflicts  on  him  that  is  without  parallel,  even  in  myth 
tales.  The  old  man  goes  through  the  roasting  with  a 
strength  which  no  stoic  or  martyr  could  equal.  When 
he  yields  at  last,  he  does  so  serenely,  and  tells  a  tale 
which  solves  the  conundrum  completely. 

Notes.  557 

Fin  MacCool,  the  three  Giants,  and  the  Small  Men. 

The  theft  of  the  children  of  the  King  of  the  Big  Men 
has  an  interesting  parallel  in  an  Indian  tale  from  Cali- 
fornia, a  part  of  which  is  as  follows  :  — 

There  was  a  man  named  Kuril  (which  means  rib) .  He 
didn't  seem  to  know  much;  but  he  could  walk  right 
through  rocks,  in  at  one  side  and  out  at  the  other.  He 
walked  across  gullies,  through  thickets,  and  over  preci- 
pices, as  easily  as  on  a  smooth  road.  One  evening  people 
saw  him  coming  from  the  west  toward  the  village.  When 
he  had  come  near,  the  sun  went  down,  and  Kuril  dis- 
appeared right  before  their  eyes.  They  saw  this  several 
times  afterwards.  He  came  always  just  before  sunset, 
never  came  quite  to  the  village.  The  children  used  to 
play  in  the  evening  ;  and  he  would  stop  and  look  at  them, 
and  at  sunset  he  would  be  gone,  turned  into  something. 

One  evening  a  very  poor  man  saw  Kuril  pass  his  thumb- 
nail along  the  top  of  his  head,  and  split  himself,  the  left 
half  of  him  became  a  woman,  and  the  right  half  remained 
a  man.  That  night  the  new  pair  appeared  to  the  poor  man 
who  had  seen  the  splitting,  they  said  that  each  of  them 
was  to  be  called  Kukupiwit  now  (crooked  breast),  and 
talked  with  him.  After  that  the  poor  man  had  great  luck, 
killed  many  deer ;  what  he  wanted,  he  had.  The  male 
Kukupiwit  came  home  late  every  evening.  His  other  half 
watched  the  village  children  playing ;  if  one  stepped  aside, 
or  left  the  others,  she  thrust  it  into  a  basket,  and  ran  home. 
People  looked  for  their  children,  but  never  found  them. 
She  would  listen,  climb  a  house  where  she  heard  a  child 

558  Notes. 

cry,  and  look  down  the  smoke-hole.  One  evening  a  little 
boy  was  crying ;  his  mother  could  not  stop  him.  At  last 
she  said,  "  Cry  away ;  I  '11  go  to  sleep."  The  woman  fell 
asleep ;  the  boy  sat  crying  by  the  hearth.  Soon  he  saw 
a  piece  of  roast  venison  hanging  by  a  string  over  the  fire. 
He  took  a  piece,  ate  it,  stopped  crying,  took  another  ; 
the  string  was  drawn  up  a  little.  He  reached  after  it ;  the 
string  was  drawn  farther.  He  reached  higher ;  Kukupiwit 
the  woman  caught  his  hand,  pulled  him  up,  put  him  in 
her  basket,  and  ran  home. 

The  mother  woke  now  ;  the  boy  was  gone.  She  roused 
her  husband ;  they  looked  everywhere,  found  no  trace  of 
their  son.  Next  night  all  in  the  village  were  watching. 
In  one  house  a  baby  cried,  and  soon  the  men  who  were 
there  heard  creeping  on  the  house.  One  man  took  the 
baby,  held  it  high  over  the  fire,  and  said,  "Take  this 
baby  !  "  Kukupiwit  reached  down ;  the  man  lowered 
the  child  a  little.  She  reached  farther;  that  moment 
five  or  six  men  caught  her  arm,  and  tried  to  pull  her 
down ;  but  all  who  were  in  the  house  could  not  do  that. 
One  man  chopped  her  arm  right  off  with  a  flint  knife, 
and  threw  it  out ;  she  fell  to  the  ground  where  her  arm 
was,  she  picked  it  up,  and  ran  home. 

The  Hard  Gilla. 

This  tale  has  a  special  interest,  in  that  it  gives  the 
cause  of  the  Battle  of  Ventry,  described  in  the  next  tale. 
The  cause,  like  that  of  the  Trojan  war,  was  a  woman. 
The  daughter  of  the  High  King  of  the  World  goes  to 
Fin  at  first,  and  is  then  stolen  away  by  him  afterwards. 

THE    END. 







Curtin,  Jeremiah 

Hero-tales  of  Ireland